MAJOR UPDATE: The City has released a memo that includes an explanation of the proposed tenant protections. See pages 3 to 8 here. Notably, they say that returning tenants will be able to lock in their rent at 20% below the citywide average years before moving in, and it will only increase by the same amount allowed by the Province for occupied apartments (currently restricted to the inflation rate). This is the example they describe for a 1 bedroom in Appendix A (page 8):
If a 2% rent increase per year is assumed and it takes 4 years for the new building to be constructed then the below-
market rent in the new unit would be $1,290/month and the tenant’s original rent would have been $1,695/month if no
redevelopment had occurred
Disclaimer: The following is intended to clarify, in the most abbreviated form practical, the tenant protection policies proposed in the Broadway Plan and potential amendments. The answers are taken from the publicly available sources referenced. We have reached out to planning staff for verification of the answers here (and more) but have not yet received confirmation of accuracy from the City.
What protections for tenants currently exist in the City of Vancouver?
In addition to the Residential Tenancy Act, tenants in Vancouver are protected by the Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy (TRPP). The TRPP includes measures such as right of first refusal, communication requirements, moving allowance, and assistance finding new accommodation. See the following questions for more details.
What additional measures does the draft Broadway Plan propose to protect renters?
In addition to the measures in the TRPP, tenants in rental buildings within the Broadway Plan area will have a few options if their building is redeveloped. These options include:
- The right to return to the new building with rent at a 20% discount to CMHC city-wide average rents.
One of either:
- Compensation equal to between 4 months of rent (1-5 year tenancies) and 24 months of rent (>40 year tenancies), OR
- A top-up subsidy to keep their existing rent at a new apartment while they are waiting to move into the new building.
The major improvement in the Broadway Plan is that tenants will be able to move back into a new building at a 20% discount to average rents for market rental buildings city-wide (per CMHC), whereas the TRPP only offers a 20% discount to starting rents in the new building. So, for example, if market rent in a 1 bedroom apartment today were $2200, the discounted rent for returning tenants would be $1760 under the TRPP, but would be only about $1216 under the Broadway Plan policy.
The proposed protections are described in more detail on page 7 of the Draft Housing Policies.
Press Read More for the rest of the FAQ.
What does 20% below CMHC’s city-wide average rents mean?
The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC), a federal crown corporation, collects information on average rents every year in October and releases a report early in the following year.
Current (October 2021) CMHC average rents, before the 20% discount, are:
CMHC city-wide average rents (October 2021)
The 20% discounted rates today would be approximately:
20% below CMHC’s city-wide average rents (October 2021)
How is it possible that my rent could go down under this plan?
If your rent is currently higher than 20% below the CMHC average for your apartment size, by the number of bedrooms, you would be able to return for less than you are currently paying. For example, if you currently pay $1800 for a 1 bedroom apartment, which is higher than the city-wide average for 1 bedroom apartments, your rent upon returning would be approximately $1,216, or almost $600 less expensive per month.
What is the right of first refusal?
Under the TRPP, tenants are offered the opportunity to move back into new rental or non-market buildings at the discounted rates described above. This does not apply to new condo buildings or detached homes that may or may not have rental suites. Owners must contact eligible tenants 6 months prior to expected occupancy. Tenants must then express interest, but are not required to commit to signing a lease at that time. The owners will contact tenants for a showing before signing a lease.
If I return to a redeveloped building, will the unit I move back into meet the same needs as my old unit, such as being pet friendly or wheelchair accessible?
Under the TRPP, returning tenants who had a pet under a “pet accommodating tenancy” must be offered a pet-friendly apartment.
The TRPP does not specifically say that new accessible units must be provided in redeveloped buildings, but section 3.1(d)i requires “Assistance in securing an accessible unit or other appropriate unit type (e.g. supportive housing, assisted living facility) for tenants with other barriers to securing appropriate housing.” Section 3.1(e) states that owners may be required to provide additional relocation assistance, including the cost of unit modifications.
What about interim housing while I’m waiting to return? What measures are in place to ensure that this housing meets my needs?
Interim accommodations are not treated differently under the TRPP. The requirements are the same.
Will all of the new development be taking place at the same time? Won’t that mean a bunch of people will be displaced at once and all be looking for a new place to live?
This is a plan for the next 30 years, and not all of the redevelopment allowed under the plan may proceed at all. The allowances for larger rental buildings to replace older rental buildings come with requirements to provide below market housing, along with a number of other requirements. This is intended to slow the pace of redevelopment as these extra costs will make redevelopment only viable in cases where the costs of maintaining an existing building are becoming too high.
What if the area I live in is rezoned for social housing but I don’t qualify for social housing?
The TRPP requires assistance finding suitable alternative housing.
Will the tenant protections apply to me if I rent in a condo or strata building or a basement suite?
The TRPP applies to “secondary rental stock,” such as rented houses, secondary suites, laneways, rented units in strata developments, provided that there is a proposal for a new dwelling of five or more units (e.g. townhouse, apartment) involving the consolidation of two or more lots.
Will the tenant protection disway developers from building in the plan area?
Yes, the cost of tenant protections along with requirements for below market homes in new buildings is expected to slow the pace of redevelopment.
What additional or alternate protections are being proposed by Council Members? And answering the same questions above if they haven’t already been addressed.
Mayor Stewart has indicated that he will propose an amendment to the plan to allow all tenants the right of first refusal to come back at their current rent (i.e. if the current rent is lower than the 20% discounted rent will be), which would likely include any increase allowed by the Province during that period.
This sounds nice in theory, but is it actually possible? Do protections like this exist in other jurisdictions?
Policies very much like the proposed protections and the Mayor’s amendment are currently being rolled out in Burnaby with some success. If sufficient adjustments are made to the bonus density for rental, it appears that these policies could work where larger buildings are replacing much smaller ones. Without adding bonus density, additional subsidies would be needed.
New stories about the tenant protections in the Broadway Plan: