District of North Vancouver council wants to change policy that will help those tenants that are moving out their condo and townhomes because the landlord plans to redevelop the property.
It was in the November of 2016 that DNV council decided that where an existing purpose built rental building is to be demolished or redeveloped, applicants are to ensure that current tenants are provided with enhanced notice and assistance to enable them to find suitable alternative accommodation.
Now, DNV council wants to extend that support to those tenants who are being displaced from other buildings aside from the market rentals and that would include stratas or any multi-family buildings where people are currently renting units.
Planner Graham Winterbottom said staff consulted with the legal team on how far the district could request such an assistance from the developer. After consultation with its legal team, staff is recommending that council consider extending the residential policy to be expanded to include rezoning applications that require the demolition of any building that contain more than four dwelling units, Winterbottom told the council.
He said staff feels that assistance could be extended to any multi-family building undergoing a rezoning application where there are rental units and people have signed residential tenancy agreements. “We recommend that we extend the rental assistance and expand on what the policy currently says on giving assistance to only those living in purpose-built rental units. We have had application coming to the council that have been a strata and even though there was no obligation, the assistance has occurred voluntarily,” he said.
Coun. Matthew Bond wondered about how the policy would serve tenants if it can’t be legally enforced. Winterboom said the council does have some levers of control as it can deny the rezoning application. “When there is a clear impact to the community with any proposal, we can ask the applicant how can you mitigate the impact and they offer a series of opportunities.
Phased development or Community Amenity Contributions are all part of that and it’s completely lawful,” he said. Bond also asked why the policy didn’t include single-family homes, for example an assemblage of five units that are not condos or townhomes. “Why we have applied these assistance guidelines to one type of housing, tenure and form,” he said.
Mayor Richard Walton also asked if the policy could be directed to a commercial unit or a business. “Why differentiate between a living unit and a commercial unit because we represent business as well even though they may not vote. We often forget the fact they there can be hardship on selling your business. If we are flushing this out, I’d like to see where we can draw the line on this issue,” he said.
Later, however, he retracted his statements noting that extending the policy to business or a commercial unit won’t be possible without extensive engagement with the community. Planner Winterbottom said council had shown interest in looking at those who would be displaced from multi-family buildings, considering the ongoing low vacancy rental rates. Staff now plans to bring this policy to council meeting for final approval.