-Surrey Board of Trade
-BC Chamber of Commerce
-BC Rental Project
-Kelowna Chamber of Commerce
-Parksville & District Chamber of Commerce
-Greater Langley Chamber of Commerce
Through the release of a landmark rental report, the Partners for Rental Housing are calling on the Provincial Government to implement appropriate guidelines for the use of Residential Rental Tenure Zoning (RRTZ), to be developed through consultation with builders and community stakeholders. The report, titled Making Rental a Reality, also provides recommendations for municipalities to support the use of RRTZ as a tool for rental growth.
“By providing guidance and monitoring the use of this zoning tool, BC could significantly increase rental home choices for all budgets and improve affordability. While well-intentioned, its flawed implementation in some municipalities so far, can actually inflict more harm on the very people this was supposed to help,” says Anne McMullin, UDI President & CEO, and group spokesperson. “But these rollout challenges can be addressed through some careful direction and appropriate stakeholder consultation. The Partners for Rental Housing share the same goal as all levels of government in wanting to provide secure rental homes to meet the needs of all BC’s residents.”
The Province created RRTZ in 2018 through legislation intended to provide more new rental housing in municipalities, addressing chronically low vacancy rates of less than one per cent. Untested in North America, the tool allows municipalities to designate buildings and areas as exclusively rental tenure. The creation of a tool to better direct the construction of new rental housing options was initially supported. However, thoughtful consideration and study needs to be given to this unprecedented tool prior to making any long-term decisions.
Several local governments have already explored the policy tool with mixed results. In some cases, it has been used to increase density and support the regeneration of rental housing. In others, it has done the reverse- downzoning properties without appropriate consultation.
Making Rental a Reality also explores potential solutions, by using RRTZ to support rental growth in key areas including:
Major arterials and Area Plans;
Single-family home areas;
Mixed-use and commercial areas; and by
Intensifying existing sites and new developments.
The report provides financial analysis of sample sites to illustrate the impact of a successful redevelopment under RRTZ. Outcomes were varied, but consistent across all scenarios was the substantial density increases required to support redevelopment.
Builders, businesses, communities and all levels of government alike want to see more housing options for British Columbians. The existing supply of rental units does not adequately serve today’s population – or that of tomorrow. The Partners for Rental Housing encourage all levels of government to reduce the barriers facing rental builders, by creating flexible policy that is adaptable to the changing housing market, and to support more housing options for British Columbians.
For the Provincial Government:
1. Develop a guidance document, through consultation with stakeholders, for municipalities that provides clear direction on the intended use of this unprecedented and untested measure.
2. Annually monitor the results of RRTZ implementation and provide further direction, where needed, to support the objective of increasing the amount of rental homes for British Columbians.
1. Only apply this zoning designation coupled with density increases in order to incentivize new construction. Other incentives may still be required to make projects viable, such as reduced parking minimums and fee reductions.
2. Do not downzone properties. This will restrict landowners’ options for renewal and reduce their ability to secure financing for major repairs and upgrades, or invest in new rental buildings and destabilizes the rental market.
When applying zoning, provide flexibility for builders, for example allowing either a smaller strata building or a larger rental building.
3. Provide early and appropriate consultation with builders, ensuring that the engagement reflects the rezoning process undertaken by proponents.
The full report is available at http://bit.ly/MakingRentalAReality-TechnicalReport along with a shortened executive summary.