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

South Surrey air cadets score top marks in B.C.

907 Black Knights Squadron notch provincial marksmanship win – again

Mischievious characters take the stage in Seussical: The Musical

Langley’s Ahnika Barber and Lauren Trotzuk are performing the classic stories of Dr. Seuss.

A community with eight Toastmasters groups hosted the annual B.C. conference

Jim McGregor has worn many hats through the year, from father and… Continue reading

Olympic auditions return to Langley

An opportunity for unknown competitors to shine and, maybe, change sports

Langley Anti-SOGI activist slams ban on dad speaking out about transgender son’s case

A judge has told the father to stop publicly objecting to his son’s gender

What’s age got to do with it? B.C. couple with 45-year gap talks happy marriage

An Armstrong couple that has 45-year age gap began turning heads after being featured on show Extreme Love.

Vintage bottles, magic cards, a 1969 Playboy: Quirky items found in historic B.C. buildings

Crews set aside some of the funkier pieces emerging from the construction rubble

PHOTOS: Inside the ‘shoe house’ in Northern B.C.

A rare look inside the famous Kitseguecla Lake Road shoe house, with a tour led by owner Toby Walsh

Thieves steal five of Seven Dwarves ornaments honouring B.C. couple’s late son

For the second time in a year, several garden ornaments stolen from Cloverdale family’s front garden

Child, 11, accidentally shot in the chest at Alberta religious colony

Child taken from Hutterite colony to nearby hospital

Ceremonies, vigils planned in Toronto to honour victims of deadly van attack

Many of those who helped that day — first responders and Good Samaritans alike — still affected

Easter bombings a response to New Zealand attacks, says Sri Lanka minister

The Islamic State group asserted it was responsible for the nine bombings

Update: Court proceeding for man charged in fatal church shooting adjourned unil May

Matrix Savage Gathergood charged with first degree murder, aggravated assault

RCMP looking to retrace steps of woman found dead on Kelowna beach

Caitlin Midori Bradley, a 29-year-old dancer at a Kelowna bar, was originally from Surrey

Most Read