VANCOUVER Council on Tuesday approved a number of measures designed to better protect renters. These include significantly increased compensation for displaced tenants, increased assistance finding permanent housing for displaced tenants who need it most, as well as new tools and resources to ensure transparency and communication between renters and landlords.
“Thanks to these new renter protection and compensation policies, Vancouver renters now enjoy the most generous and comprehensive package of protections in Canada,” said Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “These new measures provide an aggressive but thoughtful approach and sends a strong message that Vancouver will do everything in our power to stand up for renters while encouraging the development of new rental stock.”
There are short- and long-term actions that will increase protections for existing tenants impacted by development and renovations to existing rental.
The City spent the last four months engaging with a variety of stakeholders including renter advocate groups, industry, Landlord BC, non-profit housing providers and tenant relocation specialists do develop these new measures.
Immediate Enhancements to Current Policies
The City will be immediately increasing protection for renters using all tools available. Specifically, the Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy will be enhanced in four key areas:
- Doubling the compensation requirements for all displaced tenants
- Providing more assistance finding permanent housing for seniors, people with disabilities and low income residents
- Increasing communication requirements between landlords and tenants, and increasing City staff oversight of this outreach
- Developing a new approach for social housing providers that focuses on maintaining affordability and permanent rehousing
“Tenants with low incomes or who face additional housing barriers, such as seniors, persons with disabilities, or those experiencing health issues, are among those most affected by redevelopment or renovation,” said Gil Kelley, General Manager of Planning, Urban Design and Sustainability. “That’s why our enhanced Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy will provide the most assistance to those with the highest needs.”
Immediate Actions to Address Renovictions
The City will be taking immediate action to strengthen protections that complements the BC Residential Tenancy Act (RTA), while continuing to work for stronger and clearer RTA protections and processes, including:
- Issuing information describing typical renovations that are undertaken in older apartment rental buildings;
- Requesting authority from the Province to require mandatory disclosure of scope of work for renovations impacting rental as part of Building Permit applications;
- Implementing a notification pilot for renters in recently sold buildings; and
- Amending the Licence Bylaw that will enhance the City’s ability to take enforcement measures against landlords who have violated the RTA.
Creating additional renter protections under City policy that aligns with the RTA is critical to strengthening renters’ rights; however, unless renters are aware of and able to pursue these rights, they will remain at risk of displacement. Following today’s decision on the Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy, Council is considering recommendations to better assist renters at risk with a dedicated City of Vancouver Renter Advocacy and Services Team, a new Renter Services Funding program, and a community-based Renter Centre.
Creating a strong and resilient rental system that supports the needs of all renters is critical to the current and future health of Vancouver. Systemic, long-term changes are required to meet the challenge of how to address the needs of existing renters in the City while also ensuring we are investing in the current and future stock of rental housing. This work will involve partnerships across levels of government and sectors of society.