Provincial Housing Affordability Announcements

The Province has taken several steps to formalize commitments announced in the 30-point Homes for BC plan. It introduced legislation granting local governments authority for rental zoning and requiring housing needs assessments. The Province also introduced new developer data collection requirements to limit tax evasion on pre-sale condo assignments, and announced details on the rollout of funding for new rental homes.

UBCM members previously endorsed two resolutions calling for the authority to zone for rental tenure, a request that was recently brought to the attention of the Province through UBCM’s housing report - A Home for Everyone: A Housing Strategy for British Columbians.  The Province committed to granting this request in the 2018 Budget, and has now introduced amendments to the Local Government Act and Vancouver Charter providing the authority to limit tenure to rental in new developments, and to preserve existing rental units when redevelopment occurs. The proposed amendments would allow local governments to limit tenure on the basis of a specified number, portion or percentage of housing units in a building. Adoption of rental zoning by a local government would not override strata bylaws or housing co-op rules, and non-conforming forms of tenure would continue.

The Province has also introduced legislation to make it mandatory for local governments to conduct housing needs assessments to support planning for affordability. Assessments would be required every 5 years starting 3 years after the date the relevant section of the legislation comes into force. The assessments will incorporate data on current and projected population, income, housing stock and housing needs. The legislation allows for further details on housing needs report content, exemptions and application to be made by regulation. As announced in the budget, the Province will support this requirement with $5 million over three years.

Both the housing needs assessment and rental zoning announcements have been framed by the Province as assisting local governments to address affordability by giving them an additional planning tool and data to better address local needs.

Also introduced were changes to the Real Estate Development Marketing Act to limit tax evasion by people who resell condos before they have been built. The changes establish new reporting requirements for developers, and represent one of several measures that the Province introduced in Homes for BC to crack down on tax fraud and close loopholes.

Finally, the Province announced additional details on a $1.9 billion investment to fund 14,000 new rental homes in BC. The Community Housing Fund will facilitate development of mixed income rental housing projects for independent families and seniors. Requests for proposals are now open, and may be submitted to BC Housing before 2 pm on September 17, 2018.

UBCM will continue to engage with the Province as they implement their Homes for BC plan.

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