MEDIA ADVISORY – FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE – JULY 10, 2018
COUNCILLOR CARR FORWARDS MOTION FOR MORATORIUM ON DEMOLITION OF PURPOSE-BUILT RENTAL BUILDINGS IN VANCOUVER
Vancouver, BC - Councillor Adriane Carr has forwarded a motion for Vancouver City Council’s meeting of July 10, 2018 to place a moratorium on the demolition of purpose-built rental housing buildings in Vancouver until measures are implemented to protect both the existing rental housing stock and their affordable rents. The motion is posted on the City of Vancouver website: https://council.vancouver.ca/20180710/documents/motionb1.pdf
Carr’s motion notes that Council has recently directed staff to explore various measures to encourage reinvestment in Vancouver’s existing rental stock, including energy-efficient upgrades. Her motion arises out of the concern that while solutions are sought and before being implanted, existing rental housing may be lost to demolition, exacerbating the housing affordability crisis in Vancouver.
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Motion: Moratorium on Demolition of Purpose Built Rental Housing Buildings
The City of Vancouver’s Measures to Retain the Rental Housing Stock report, unanimously passed by Council at a June 5, 2018 public hearing:
- recommends “further study to determine effective measures and incentives to encourage reinvestment in the existing rental stock while considering impacts on existing renters”
- directs staff to explore the feasibility of municipal incentives to support structural and energy upgrades in existing rental buildings
- recommends partnering with LandlordBC on a program to support and encourage capital planning and energy benchmarking in existing rental housing
- recommends working with the provincial and federal governments on programs to support major capital and energy-efficient upgrades in existing private market rental housing, including initiatives for energy assessments, financing, tax incentives and/or grant assistance to support needed capital upgrades and energy-efficient retrofits conditional on maintaining affordability and/or minimizing renter displacement;
- Although the City of Vancouver’s Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan protects against the loss of approximately 53,500 units of rental housing (77 percent of Vancouver’s total rental stock) in terms of ensuring there is 1:1 replacement of rental units that are demolished, it does not protect the affordable rents that the older rental housing stock provides;
- Rents in the rental housing that replaces the demolished or renovated older rental apartments are usually much higher—typically at market rates that are often more than twice the price;
The City’s Measures to Retain the Rental Housing Stock report also reports that:
- City staff have observed an increased incidence of renters being displaced for major and minor renovations of existing rental buildings
- Since 2015, there have been development applications involving major renovations or redevelopment of existing rental buildings requiring the relocation of tenants from 1,605 units of purpose-built rental housing, 13% of which were occupied by long-term renters with tenancies of 10 years or more;
- The City is committed to strengthening protection for renters under the Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy and Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan, but it is increasingly difficult to find replacement housing for evicted tenants in the same neighbourhood at the same rent.
THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT:
- A moratorium be placed on the demolition of older purpose-built rental buildings for one year or more, if necessary, until such time as staff both report back to Council with recommendations arising from the Measures to Retain the Rental Housing Stock report and measures to protect the existing rental housing stock are implemented;
- Staff’s report back on the Measures to Retain the Rental Housing Stock report include measures to protect affordable rents.