Burnaby's new approach to rental housing: here's what it does and doesn't do

Posted May 28, 2019

On Monday, May 27th Burnaby council passed a series of proposals aimed at stopping tenant displacement in the Metrotown area, which saw 800 units destroyed in the last few years and replaced by luxury condos.
 
What does it do? 
 
- One to one rental replacement.  Developers will have to replace all units destroyed in redevelopment in the new buildings at a rate that is 20% below average market rent. 
 
- 20% of all new buildings would have to have rental housing, and the city has found a way to put vacancy rent control on those units so they remain as affordable as they are in perpetuity. 
 
- Incentivizes developers to build more rental housing. 
 
 
What doesn't it do?
 
- Develop a tenant relocation policy that works. Where are we supposed to move once a building is destroyed and before the new building is built? 
 
- End renovictions. If the city is making demovictions harder for developers to do, we are certain that developers will try to renovict tenants to get a return on their investment.  
 
- Build deeply affordable housing. Most ACORN members make under $30,000 a year - where is the affordable housing for them? 
 
- End the developer practice of tenant buyouts. Tenants don't want to move, and the fact that they accept passive aggressive offers of a few months' rent to move out of their rent controlled homes does not mean they do. Tenant relocation is the answer to the problem of tenant displacement, not offering cash buyouts that do not cover the increase the tenants see in rent once they move. 
 
- End the mass vacancy in Metrotown purpose built rentals. ACORN estimates that 300 units in Metrotown sit vacant due to developers buying out tenants and not re-renting them out. 
 
-  Retroactively rehouse the hundreds of tenants who have been bought out of buildings where developers are actively seeking approval for redevelopment. Developers now have to give right of first refusal to existing tenants to move into the new buildings, but that is rendered meaningless because there are few existing tenants left in the Metrotown purpose built rentals. 
 
Still lots of work to be done! 
 
Burnaby ACORN will be discussing this and more at their chapter meeting tonight - 6:30PM at Bonsor Recreation Complex 

 

PRESS:

CTV News: Burnaby to create rental-only zones across city

CBC News: Burnaby council floats huge reforms to rental housing policy

Global News: Proposed Burnaby bylaw protecting renters from demovictions passes 1st reading

The Georgia Straight: Burnaby council passes ambitious plan to protect rental housing stock

 

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