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

Rainfall warning: Up to 70 mm expected across Fraser Valley

Environment Canada issued a weather warning heading into the long weekend

No more mobile vendors on Harrison beach

The approval of an updated business licence bylaw means Nolan Irwin is without a cart

BC Ferries to pilot selling beer and wine on select routes

Drinks from select B.C. breweries and VQA wineries to be sold on Swartz Bay to Tsawwassen route

Harrison Festival releases 2019 line up

The 41st annual Harrison Festival of the Arts will be held from July 12 to 21

Fisheries Department announces conservation measures to protect chinook in B.C.

Urgent protection measures include closure of a commercial fishery involving seven endangered stock

VIDEO: Alberta man creates world’s biggest caricature

Dean Foster is trying to break the world record for a radio show contest

Man driving wrong way on Highway 17 ‘seriously’ injured after crash: Surrey RCMP

Police say the driver hit a transport truck, then another car after merging from the off-ramp onto highway

Should B.C. lower speed limits on side roads to 30 km/h?

Vancouver city councillor wants to decrease speed limits along neighbourhood side roads

Lawsuit eyed over union-only raise for B.C. community care workers

‘Low-wage redress’ leaves 17,000 employees out, employers say

Landlord of alleged Okanagan shooter recounts deadly day

Tony Friesen was working in one of the units of his Penticton building when he heard shots

Foreign national arrested in connection to thefts at YVR

A woman, 60, is being held in police custody as Richmond RCMP investigate

Police pursue pesky porker on Vancouver Island

‘This was allegedly not the pig’s first escape’

Rare ‘Snow Tower’ tree blooming in Vancouver city park

A plant rarely grown in Canada is now flowering at the Bloedel Conservatory in Queen Elizabeth Park

Westjet tries again to dismiss proposed class-action lawsuit alleging discrimination

Former flight attendant claims airline broke contractual promise to create harassment-free workplace

Most Read