New Westminster — Today the Supreme Court of British Columbia released a decision upholding the City’s use of residential rental tenure zoning – an important tool that gives the City a legislative ability to preserve and increase the overall supply of rental housing in the community.
“Rental tenure zoning has been an important tool used to respond to the real challenge of saving existing purpose-built rental housing,” said Mayor Jonathan X. Coté. “We are pleased that the BC Supreme Court has upheld the City’s rental residential zoning powers so that we can preserve our rental housing stock and support our residents. We know that the housing crisis has been worsened by the pandemic and we are very committed protecting tenant rights.”
In July 2018, the Province enacted rental tenure zoning authority to enable protection of the rental tenures in existing apartment buildings. In 2019, New Westminster City Council adopted Zoning Amendment Bylaws No. 8078 and 8123, making it the first municipality in the province to apply the newly granted residential tenure zoning powers to some of its existing rental housing stock. More specifically, New Westminster sought to protect over 200 households whose tenancies were not adequately protected with any of the other existing legislative tools found in the Local Government Act and the Community Charter.
“This ruling is a positive step in helping the City respond to a complex housing crisis, at a time when it’s more critical than ever,” said Emilie K. Adin, Director of Development Services. “It supports the City’s understanding that residential rental tenure zoning is a viable tool for local governments, which is good news for many BC municipalities who may wish to use the new tool to protect existing rental housing stock.”
Given that the City’s position has been upheld, Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 8123 will continue the residential rental tenure restrictions for six stratified rental properties. These units must remain rental-only and cannot be owner-occupied, whether wholly owned by one entity or as units that are separately sold and held by individual entities.
Rental tenure zoning complements a suite of other policies that the City has adopted to contend with the housing crisis, including the City’s innovative business licensing restrictions against renovictions. Learn more at www.newwestcity.ca/tenants.