Description

Council in June 2018 amended the rental housing stock Official Development Plan and approved rental-building reinvestment actions:

  • Amendments to the Rental Housing Stock ODP aim to improve protection for rental-housing stock and retaining existing rental units. The ODP’s requirement one-for-one replacement of rental units in new buildings containing six or more units in certain zones was changed to three units. The amendments clarify the rules for replacement of existing rental housing and requirements for family housing in new developments and major renovations.
  • The city also wants to encourage reinvestment in existing rental-housing stock through incentives for structural and energy improvements to rental buildings while also supporting tenants. This includes looking for senior-government partnerships to encourage building owners to reinvest in aging rental stock and to protect tenants.

Significance

About 53% of Vancouver households live in rental housing, which is more affordable than other market housing and is often located in areas accessible by transit. The city estimates about 35% of renters spend more than 30% of their income on housing. About 80% of rental stock was built 1980, which means many buildings require repairs. While rents may be cheaper in older buildings, city staff say they see an increased incidence of renters being displaced for major and minor renovations or redevelopment of existing rental buildings.

Background

The Rental Housing Stock ODP (approved in 2007) protects about 53,500 rental units, or 77% of rental stock in Vancouver by requiring replacement of units lost in redevelopment in RM, FM and CD-1 zones. The Housing Vancouver Strategy identifies it as a key tool for ensuring affordable, secure rental housing for moderate-income residents.

In 2018, the City of Vancouver commissioned a rental reinvestment study from RDH Building Science to identify ways the city and its partners can support reinvestment and make energy-efficiency improvements in older wood-frame, purpose-built rental housing. It found that most of these buildings will require significant structural and energy-efficiency upgrades but only 20% of owners who responded said they had done major repairs based on a long-term capital plan.

Sources

City of Vancouver. Measures to Retain the Rental Housing Stock – Building Reinvestment Actions and Amendments to the Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan. April 17, 2018