New Westminster —On Monday, January 28th, New Westminster City Council adopted Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 8078, 2019, as the first municipality in the province to apply a new rental residential tenure zoning authority to existing rental housing stock. The rental tenure restrictions will apply to six (6) 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.
“This bylaw is the first step in our initiative to ensure our city has housing options for everyone,” said Mayor Jonathan X. Coté. “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.”
The adoption of this bylaw is a component of a larger Rental Housing Revitalization initiative, which Council endorsed on January 14, 2019, in response to the city’s housing crisis. In July 2018, the Province 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.
“In late 2018, 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, 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.”
Moving forward, 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. On February 4, 2019, there will be an Opportunity to be Heard on proposed amendments to Business Regulations and Licensing (Rental Units) Bylaw No. 6926, 2004, to add new business licensing restrictions against renovictions.