BC NDP provides municipal governments with new rental-only zoning powers

Apr 25 2018, 2:02 am

Local and municipal governments across British Columbia will soon have new powers to enact rental-only housing zoning.

Selina Robinson, the BC Minister of Municipal Affairs and Housing, introduced new legislation today to provide municipalities, including the City of Vancouver, with the authority to zone land for rental-only housing development.

This new zoning tool, which is optional, was previously unavailable to municipal governments.

This will enable developers to know in advance that the site will be for rental and what portion of a development is required to be as such.

Other changes to the Local Government Act and Vancouver Charter in Bill 23 include providing municipal governments with the authority to ensure existing rental housing cannot be redeveloped for another use.

“Local governments are on the front lines of the housing crisis, so they’re well positioned to guide the right types of housing to meet the needs of their residents,” said Robinson in a statement.

“There is a shortage of rental homes in British Columbia. The steps we are taking today will both help local governments track the needs of their communities, and give them a powerful tool to deliver homes people can afford in the communities where they work, go to school and raise their families.”

Additionally, as another measure to tackle the housing supply and affordability crisis, legislation changes are being made to require municipal governments to conduct a study every five years on their municipal jurisdiction’s housing needs. The cost of such an assessment will be supported by the provincial government through a $5 million fund over three years.

The periodical studies will provide municipalities with more data on housing needs before they make density decisions on community plans.

And a third measure through a change to the Real Estate Development Marketing Act will require developers to collect and report information on pre-sale condominium assignments.

This mandatory process under the Property Transfer Tax Act is designed to ensure buyers are paying the appropriate taxes upon the completion of contracts.

“For too long, people who resell condos before they have been built have been inflating real estate prices, without necessarily paying taxes on their gains,” said BC Minister of Finance Carole James.

“We are making it fairer for people who want to buy a condo, by making sure those who flip pre-sale condos are paying their fair share.”

Other policy measures to address housing already announced by the BC NDP include a hike in the foreign buyers’ tax and property transfer tax, a new speculation tax, and various major financial contributions to new affordable and rental housing.

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