New Westminster — On Friday, April 30, 2021, the British Columbia Court of Appeal ruled in the City of New Westminster’s favour that it was within the City’s right to adopt a bylaw amendment to deter the practice of renovictions and help preserve affordable rental housing in the midst of a housing crisis. In February 2019, the City adopted Business Regulations and Licensing (Rental Units) Amendment Bylaw No. 8085, which includes regulations controlling how landlords and rental building owners can undertake renovations, and a number of regulations pertaining to restrictions on evictions.
“This important ruling supports the City in taking bold steps to directly respond to the housing crisis,” said Mayor Jonathan X. Coté. “Our hope is that the court’s decision could empower other municipalities to develop similar bold regulations as we all work to preserve and create more affordable housing in our cities.”
This ruling by the highest court in the province confirms that it was within the City’s powers to adopt the amendment bylaw, stating that “the City has a long-standing concern with the need to preserve local affordable rental housing and has recently become particularly concerned with a perceived increase in the risk of renovictions in New Westminster.”
The City of New Westminster was the first municipality in British Columbia to tackle the issue of renovictions using municipal regulations and, as such, is a leader among municipalities for its bold and direct action to protect tenants. The decrease in the number of renovictions since the new regulations have been in place has been dramatic.
“The amendment bylaw regulations will continue to protect the City’s aging stock of over 9,000 purpose-built rental units, in 300 plus buildings, representing over 60% of the rental supply,” said Emilie K. Adin, Director of Development Services. “We have gotten contacted by municipalities across Canada who have an interest in our approach to tackling renovictions.”
In recognition that the amendments to the Business Regulations and Licensing (Rental Units) Bylaw can be challenging to understand, a Tenants in New West brochure has been developed which can be found here on the City website.