It could be another road block for developers or owners of apartment rentals who want to redevelop their site.
One Vancouver city Councillor says staff is looking at ways to tighten up the ‘rate of change‘ policy in place since 2007, which protects rental units and people grandfathered in at low rents from being displaced.
It’s a policy that says if you tear down 20 units, you can only replace it with the same amount, but developers are asking for a five to one rate of change.
Councillor Geoff Meggs says staff is looking at closing loopholes in the current policy, now 10-years-old.
“We’ve asked staff to make recommendations on spreading the scope so it protects even more rental housing from demolition.”
The city has made exceptions in certain neighbourhoods, while Vancouver faces a rental crunch.
“If we make further changes, we would make sure there’s protection for even more of the rental stock there is now. I think we are about 80 per cent, we would like to get close to 100 per cent.”
He says the city is open to proposals, but often face backlash from renters at public hearings.
Meggs says a report to update the policy is expected later this spring.
Meanwhile, local real estate consultant Michael Geller says he’s struck out numerous times with the rate of change policy with the City of Vancouver.
“No I’ve never been successful but I have had conversations with the city”
Gellar agrees, the city has a job to do to protect some renters, but says there’s also an issue of safety.
“Other Councillors have to consider, when the big earthquake hits Vancouver, instead of worrying about 25 renters, we are going to be worrying about tens of thousands of renters who are living in older buildings that collapsed.”
Gellar does admit, if old buildings are re-developed, renters would have to move in paying higher rents.