New Westminster, B.C. – Today the British Columbia Court of Appeal released a decision upholding the City’s use of the residential rental tenure zoning power. In March 2021, the Supreme Court of British Columbia upheld the same challenged bylaws, which were enacted with the intention of preserving six stratified apartment buildings that had long been part of the City’s rental stock, as rental units.
“I’m glad the BC Court of Appeal has upheld the City’s residential rental tenure zoning bylaw,” said Mayor Patrick Johnstone. “The City of New Westminster has never shied away from doing what’s right to protect residents during the ongoing regional housing crisis. Protecting renters and preserving rental housing means more residents sleep secure tonight in homes they can afford.”
In July 2018, the Province enacted rental tenure zoning authority to enable local governments to expand and preserve rental stock. 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 its existing rental housing stock. More specifically, New Westminster sought to protect over 200 households whose tenancies could not adequately be protected by any of the other existing legislative tools found in the Local Government Act and the Community Charter.
“The City of New Westminster has taken several bold and novel actions to protect renters and to ensure affordable housing options are available for all,” said Jackie Teed, Acting Director, Climate Action Planning and Development. “Today’s decision, along with previous rulings supporting the City of New Westminster’s former Business Regulation (Rental Units) Bylaw, affirms that our city is a leader in advancing rental protection policy.”
Given that the City’s bylaw has been upheld, Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 8123 will continue 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. This decision has broad-ranging implications for other municipalities, as it confirms that the residential rental zoning power may lawfully be used to preserve existing rental stock, even if the subject units are stratified.
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 (now repealed after amendments to the Residential Tenancy Act). Learn more at www.newwestcity.ca/tenants.
City of New Westminster
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