Delta council on Monday (July 24) approved a pair of policies aimed at protecting local rental housing stock and making sure tenants are provided for when their homes are being redeveloped.
The new Rental Stock Protection Policy requires no net loss of purpose-built rental units as a result of redevelopment, while the Tenant Relocation Policy lays out the city’s requirements relating to minimum timelines for relocation of — and financial compensation to — tenants when their rental units are slated for redevelopment.
Both policies took effect immediately and apply to all new redevelopment applications for sites with five purpose-built rental units or more. Secondary suites, coach houses and rental units not within a purpose-built development are exempt.
A staff report to council, citing data from the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, notes 62 per cent of Delta’s 1,740 purpose-built rental units were built before 1980, and it’s anticipated that much of this housing stock may be redeveloped over the next 10 to 20 years.
“We’re lucky that to date we haven’t had to deal with a lot of tenant relocation issues, just because of the age of the buildings, but they’re coming and it’s so important that as we try to expand our rental stock (…) that we’re supporting existing renters and not putting them into precarious situations,” Coun. Dylan Kruger said at Monday’s meeting, noting the policies are in line with those in most other Metro Vancouver cities.
“It makes me feel really comfortable and positive moving forward that we can have good discussions about redevelopment of aging properties knowing that the existing tenants and the rental units themselves will be protected.”
Under the Tenant Relocation Policy, residents of a rental property for which a development application has been submitted are eligible for relocation assistance (including help finding a new home), a lump sum to help cover moving expenses ($1,000 for a bachelor or one-bedroom unit, $1,250 for a two-bedroom, and $1,500 for three or more), financial compensation based on the length of their tenancy (three months’ rent plus $15 per month of tenancy up until a complete rezoning application is submitted by the developer), and right of first refusal once the newly-development rental units are complete (at 20 per cent below average market rental rates).
Relocated tenants must also to be offered a five per cent discount on the price of market strata units in the new development should they be in a position to purchase rather than.
Developers, meanwhile, must designate a “tenant relocation co-ordinator” to act as a single point of contact for tenants and city staff. The co-ordinator is responsible for meeting with tenants to assess their needs, such as accessibility, affordability, children, pets, the need for translation services, and whether additional supports are required.
Though developers are required to provide information to the city at various points in the process, including proof of an agreement with the tenant should they exercise their right of first refusal and choose not to return, the city will have no direct role in enforcing such an agreement or mediating conflicts between developers and tenants.
While both new policies apply to all new redevelopment applications received moving forward, projects that have already been submitted to the city will be “encouraged to consider the policies as indications of the city’s expectation for tenant support,” the report states.
The Rental Stock Policy will also be included in a future update to Delta’s Official Community Plan.
Delta is one of 10 B.C. cities named by the Housing Ministry In May as the first to be subject to new housing targets under legislation passed last year.
Ministry and city staff met in June for a broad-strokes discussion as to what the targets for Delta will be, and the city was given 30 days to respond before the province finalized those goals.
The province is expected to publicly release the specific targets for each of those 10 cities in the coming weeks, after which municipalities will have six months to show meaningful progress.