Beefed-up cash compensation among protections proposed for displaced Vancouver renters
Vancouver city council is slated to vote next week on major changes to the rules protecting tenants forced out of their rental units due to redevelopment.
Councillors voted in December to have staff look into amending the Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy and look for ways to protect renters from aggressive buyouts.
Staff have now returned with a number of recommendations, including significantly beefing up the cash compensation offered to displaced renters.
WATCH: Port Coquitlam brings in tough anti-renoviction bylaws
“An aging rental stock, high demand for rental, and continued shortage in new rental housing has led to a crisis of rental affordability and availability,” concludes the report.
“The crisis has revealed significant gaps in the existing system for renters’ rights on the one hand and owners’ ability to reinvest in their property on the other.”
The report recommends increasing financial compensation to begin at four months rent for tenants who have occupied a home for one to five years, to five months rent for tenants who have lived in a unit for five to 10 years, and as much as two years rent for tenants who’ve lived in a unit for over 40 years.
It also recommends more stringent requirements for owners to help displaced tenants find new homes at a manageable price.
And it recommends expanding the policy to cover secondary suites when two or more lots are amalgamated with the new development housing five or more dwellings.
However the report did not recommend toughening existing rules on right of first refusal.
Under current regulations, displaced renters are allowed the right to return to a redeveloped property with a 20 per cent discount on market rents.
WATCH: New Westminster tenants unsure if new renoviction bylaw will protect them
The report found that many tenants said those new rents were unaffordable. But it also found that deepening the discount could discourage the creation of new units.
“This was identified as one of the most significant potential financial challenges to creating new rental housing under the Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy,” reads the report.
“Significant additional density may be required for a deeper Right of First Refusal to be financially viable in new rental projects.”
As one of a slew of measures intended to discourage renovictions, the city, if approved, would also ask Victoria to modify the Vancouver Charter to “clarify and broaden” the city’s power to impose conditions on development permit applicants.
It also recommends amendments to the city’s Licence Bylaw that could allow the city to crack down on landlords flaunting the rules.
Council is slated to debate the report next Tuesday.
© 2019 Global News, a division of Corus Entertainment Inc.