A New Approach to Rental Housing for Resident of Burnaby: Affordable housing in Burnaby was always a weakness compared to other municipalities. We are surprised to see the City of Burnaby develop a comprehensive plan to provide rental housing for all income levels making its planned special. Other municipalities tend to focus on increasing rental housing supply but put less focus on rent and long-term effect of the rental housing.
A New Approach: Rental Policy Framework
The objective of this framework is to ensure the replacement and increase of rental housing in the City of Burnaby at a variety of rent levels and affordability. The aim is also to protect rental housing into the future. This goal is for the policy to be transparent, achievable and applied equally, giving developers and property owners clear expectations. It’s also important to give residents clarity on the City's direction on affordable rental housing.
Four Policy Proposals
- Rental Replacement, which would require –
- Full replacement of rental units lost to redevelopment
- 1:1 replacement of units, with similar mix of unit types (1 bdrm, 2 bdrm, )
- Tenants to be suitably accommodated during construction
- Tenants to receive first right of refusal to return to the units at similar rents (either lesser than or equal to a threshold of 20% below CMHC’s market average)
- Inclusionary Rental, which would require –
- 20% of units in all new multi-family developments be rental, city-wide
- Voluntary Rental Housing in Commercial Districts, which would allow –
- Up to 49% of commercial space used as rental housing, once other rental requirements are met in a project. If a project has met other obligations such as the 20% Inclusionary Rental, then it may consider adding this above
- Protection of Existing Rental Sites
- Launch of a process to rezone as rental only all sites that currently have purpose-built rental buildings with 6 or more units. Property owners could potentially rezone to Comprehensive Development District. But they must still replace existing rental or provide a minimum of 20% rental (whichever is greater) in the new development.
Also proposed is Density Offset. Developers could seek additional density of market strata units in a project to subsidize affordable rental units. An additional 50% of base density may be made available in RM3, 4 and 5 districts. The Burnaby Zoning Bylaw would need to be amended to allow the additional density.