Serving an important role in the community, rental housing provides affordable housing to households with varied income levels while enabling flexibility for workers who require proximity to their workplace. Rental housing is a City priority.
Rental housing is comprised of purpose-built rental apartments, condominium rentals, single-family house rentals, secondary suites and rooming houses. Vacancy rates have remained below 4% since 2000. Approximately 44% of New Westminster households are renters.
Secured Market Rental Housing Policy
On May 13, 2013, the City adopted the Secured Market Rental Housing Policy. The strategies and actions outlined in the policy are aimed at retaining, renewing and enhancing the supply of secured rental housing.
moratorium on Strata conversions
Due to the limited development of rental housing in recent years, purpose-built rental structures are comprised primarily of older rental housing. The City has experienced a loss of no more than 3% from redevelopment, thanks to a moratorium on strata conversion of older purpose-built rental buildings.
Now, New Westminster’s purpose-built rental apartment stock is ageing and 10% of rental apartment units require major repair.
Secondary suites are recognized as a legitimate form of affordable rental housing. Often, they provide an affordable option for students, single people, young working couples and small families.
Since New Westminster’s Secondary Suites Program began in 1998, numerous legal suites have been implemented and many unregistered suites have been identified. The implication? Secondary suites potentially make up 10% of New Westminster’s housing stock. Based on an analysis of the City’s legal suites, most legal secondary suites are located in newer homes.
Laneway and Carriage Houses
Laneway and Carriage Houses are compact, detached, ground-oriented dwellings located in backyards. They can provide housing options for family members, or can be rented out. Laneway and carriage houses offer more privacy and independence than secondary suites, as well as access to backyard space.
New Westminster’s Laneway and Carriage House program began in 2017 after the building form was permitted through the updated Official Community Plan. It is expected that laneway and carriage houses will be developed on single detached dwelling properties across the city in the coming years, contributing to the diversity of rental housing available.
The New Westminster Rent Bank (NWRB) is a housing stabilization program geared towards low-income residents of New Westminster who are experiencing a temporary financial crisis. It is operated by the Lower Mainland Purpose Society. The NWRB can offer a low-fee, short-term loan to low-income individuals and families that live in the City of New Westminster and are at risk of eviction or essential utility disconnection due to a temporary shortage of funds.
The City of New Westminster is a proud supporter of the New Westminster Rent Bank. The City has provided funding to cover the administrative costs associated with operating the rent bank program.