Wednesday, December 15, 2021

December 13 Council Notes: Tenant relocation policy and other development matters

On Monday, Langely City Council gave first and second reading to a bylaw to enable a 6-storey, 96-unit apartment at 19701-19729 55A Avenue. Langley City staff will now schedule a public hearing for the new year.

Rendering of the proposed project at 19701-19729 55A Avenue. Select image to enlarge.

Council also gave third reading to amend the zoning bylaw for the following two projects. You can learn more about these projects in a previous post:

30-unit townhouse at 5364-5380 198 Street & 19824 54 Avenue
5-storey, 86-unit apartment at 20120-20170 53A Avenue

Council gave third reading to discharge Land Use Contract No. 03-73, which would enable the redevelopment of the current mixed-use apartments at 20785 Fraser Highway. As I posted earlier, this is a market rental building, but due to the age of the building and length of tenancy, many current residents pay rents well below the current market rental rates in Langley City. There are also long-term businesses in the building that will need to find a new home.

At the meeting, Council made it clear that the project proponent needs to follow our new tenant relocation policies to the letter. Council also suggested, though no action was taken, that we need to develop a business relocation policy.

Being told your tenancy will be ending is traumatic. People must have ample notice. Langley City’s tenant relocation policies state a developer must:

  • Have early communication with tenants about any redevelopment plan
  • Designate a tenant relocation coordinator
  • Provide financial compensation to tenants based on the length of tenancy and Residential Tenancy Act
  • Provide an insured moving company or a flat rate payout for moving expenses at the applicant’s choice
  • Assist tenants in finding new accommodations and relocation
  • Give existing tenants the Right of First Refusal to move back into the new building or at the new non-market rents in circumstances when the replacement unit is social housing

In addition, the developer must work to ensure that any vulnerable tenants such as persons with disabilities, seniors, or people with mental health challenges have additional support.

For this project, Whitetail Home provided early communication starting at the end of September. Council still needs to consider the approval of a development permit and final reading to discharge the land use contract. The earliest Council would consider final reading and issue the development permit would be in February. Whitetail must apply to the Residential Tenancy Branch for authorization to provide a four-month Notice to End Tenancy only after the City has issued all permits. Given these facts, the earliest people’s tenancy could end is in the summer of 2022.

As a note, Council directed staff at a previous meeting to include in the 2022 budget funding to develop a below-market-rate rental policy to be applied when older purpose-built rental buildings undergo redevelopment. This policy will ensure that we maintain affordable rents in our community.

Council also gave final reading to amend the Fees and Charges Bylaw. You can learn more about the changes in a previous post.

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