An apartment under repair. New Westminster has moved to create more strict conditions for renovations that leave renters without a place to live. (Wikimedia Commons)

New Westminster becomes first in B.C. to enact bylaw against ‘renovictions’

City unanimously approved bylaw ammendment for more strict conditions for developers

New Westminster has become the first city in B.C. to amend its zoning bylaw to protect renters from “renovictions.”

Council approved the changes unanimously Monday, following a public hearing.

The amendment aims to address the rental crisis in Metro Vancouver by adding site-specific rental tenure restrictions to certain properties, and blocking developers from evicting tenants to replace the building for other uses, also known as “renovictions.”

Mayor Jonathan Cote called the city’s state of renting “a renoviction crisis.”

“The number of cases we have seen that have involved, what I would say, are more superficial renovations to the building but have led to renovictions is increasing,” Cote said.

“That puts us in a desperate position to say, ‘What policy can we look at to address this?’ And we have been very limited here.”

READ MORE: Vacancies remain low as rents rise in B.C.

Coun. Jaime McEvoy said he understands the move is not popular for some property owners, but doing nothing as a response to the housing crunch is not an option.

“There are many good landlords in New Westminster, I have rented from some of them,” McEvoy said. “Those landlords are going to sell one day, so what happens when they sell?

Renovictions have plagued many cities in B.C., especially where rental vacancy rates are less than two per cent. It became a central issue during last fall’s municipal election. In December, the provincial housing task force called for tenants to be allowed to stay as building owners renovate and evictions be reserved for rare instances of serious, major and long-term work.

Coun. Patrick Johnstone said he wants to help renters who finding themselves living in uncertainty.

“I know the people who own these buildings want certainty,” Johnstone said. “To me, right now, the crisis for certainty is people who don’t have a place to live, or are precariously living in a place where, if they are evicted, they will not be able to find another affordable place to live in this community.”


@ashwadhwani
ashley.wadhwani@bpdigital.ca

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter.

Just Posted

RCMP seize more than 2,700 marijuana plants from a home in Mission

Plants discovered in a property located on the 32800 block of Cameron Avenue

Catholic church buys $7.5M equestrian facility in Abbotsford, plans ‘agri-retreat’ centre

Church hopes to grow crops, host students and others on Bradner property

Mission’s Harrison Trustham earns bronze at Legion event

Mission Secondary student places third in hurdles at Nova Scotia event

Record-tying sturgeon nabbed near Mission

The 11’4 fish is tied for the largest “tag and released” white sturgeon on the Fraser River

Man sentenced for 2018 stabbing incident in Mission

Kyle Kollman pleads guilty to charge of assault causing bodily harm

VIDEO: Title of 25th Bond movie is ‘No Time to Die’

The film is set to be released in April 2020

Retired Richmond fisherman wins record-breaking $60M Lotto Max jackpot

Joseph Katalinic won the biggest Lotto Max prize ever awarded

‘Unsubstantiated’ bomb threat against CP Rail in Revelstoke

On Aug. 18, a bomb threat was made against CP Rail in Revelstoke

Victoria father charged with double murder of his daughters takes the stand

Andrew Berry pleaded not guilty to the December 2017 deaths

New ‘Matrix’ film set with Keanu Reeves and Lana Wachowski

Fourth installment to feature Reeves as Neo and Carrie-Anne Moss as Trinity

New regulations require training for B.C. addiction recovery homes

Inspections, standards replace ‘wild west,’ Judy Darcy says

Downtown Langley becomes a Saturday smorgasbord

Nineteen local restaurants participate in annual Fork and Finger sampling event

Most Read