In what it says is a “first step” in ensuring that there are housing options for everyone, the City of New Westminster passed a bylaw this week, effectively restricting “renovictions” in the city.
The news comes after city council adopted a zoning bylaw amendment that applies a new rental residential tenure zoning authority to existing rental housing stock.
The rental tenure restrictions will apply to six stratified rental buildings and to 12 city-owned properties in New Westminster. No other rental buildings or city-owned sites are affected by the bylaw.
“Renovictions have displaced many people from their homes and we’re taking action to preserve our rental housing stock for those who need it now and in the future,” said New Westminster Mayor Jonathan Coté.
The city said the adoption of this bylaw is a component of a larger Rental Housing Revitalization initiative, which council endorsed on January 14, in response to the city’s housing crisis.
“It came to the city’s attention that a building that had operated as rental since its 1977 construction was being actively marketed for sale as condominium units,” said Emilie Adin, the city’s Director of Development Services. “Rental Residential Tenure Zoning is the only city-led action that can protect the rental tenure of stratified rental buildings, thus relieving some of the pressures from renoviction being faced by New Westminster tenants, who represent 44% of our population.”
In July 2018, the provincial government enacted a new local government authority as an amendment to the Local Government Act. This was done in order to apply rental residential tenure zoning authority to protect the rental tenures in existing apartment buildings.
Moving forward, the city said consultation with stakeholders on the Draft Rental Replacement Policy and the incentive components of the Rental Housing Revitalization Program will be conducted together with consultations for the Draft Inclusionary Housing Policy.
There will be a public hearing on February 4 regarding proposed amendments to Business Regulations and Licensing (Rental Units) Bylaw No. 6926, 2004, to add new business licensing restrictions against renovictions.