Tuesday, March 8, 2022

New Tenant Relocation Plans Policy will ensure Metrotown-style Demovictions due not occur in Langley City

Since I’ve been on Council, I’ve seen a steady increase in the amount of redevelopment occurring in Langley City. The vast majority of redevelopment in Langely City is demolishing detached housing and replacing it with apartments or townhouses.

The City has seen a few old apartment buildings demolished and redeveloped into newer apartments, but these apartment buildings were fire damaged.

We are now seeing developers interested in demolishing older purpose-built, fully occupied rental buildings. The first example is a proposed 6-storey mixed-use building at Fraser Highway and 208th Street, which you can read about in a previous post.

I vividly recall the Burnaby demovictions in Metrotown. I remember the stress, fear, and trauma that these demovictions inflicted on residents in that community. This experience should not happen in Langley City.

Many of the older purpose-built rental buildings in Langley City are located in the Douglas Neighbourhood. This neighbourhood has one of the lowest median household incomes in Metro Vancouver. The City is starting to see interest in redeveloping these apartment buildings as they near the end of their lives.

To ensure that we do not reduce the number of rental units due to purpose-built rental building redevelopment, Langley City has a one-to-one rental replacement policy . The City is also working on an Affordable Rental Policy to ensure that developers create below-market rate rental units as part of purpose-built rental apartment redevelopment projects.

When redeveloping purpose-built rental apartments, the development process results in the relocation of existing residents. Langley City Council adopted a Tenant Relocation Plans policy yesterday.

This policy will ensure that residents receive early notice about any redevelopment plans for their apartment building, are compensated beyond the provincial minimums, and are helped in finding and moving to a new housing location.

All tenants who must relocate will receive the following minimum compensation:

Length of Tenancy Minimum Compensation Provided
Up to 5 years tenancy 2 months rent
6 to 10 years tenancy 3 months rent
11 to 15 years tenancy 4 months rent
16-20 years tenancy 5 months rent
Over 20 years tenancy 6 months rent

All tenants will also receive moving assistants.

All tenants will also have the first right of refusal to move back and rent in the newly redeveloped project at 10% below market rental rates.

Many seniors and people with lower incomes live in purpose-built rental buildings in Langley City. The Tenant Relocation Plans policy ensures that these people receive extra help finding affordable rental units and additional compensation.

The policy requires that a developer’s Tenant Relocation Coordinator provide extra assistance in finding subsidized housing units, applying for rent supplements from the province, and providing help with packing and relocation for people who:

  • Have a recognized disability pension or are considered disabled for income tax purposes, and/or seniors aged 55 or older, as per BCHousing definitions;
  • Qualify for deep subsidy and Rent Geared to Income (RGI) units, according to BC Housing eligibility criteria; and
  • Are currently paying monthly rent that is equivalent to or less than average monthly rents for RGI units in the City.

The policy also increases the compensation as follows:

Length of Tenancy Minimum Compensation Provided
Up to 15 years tenancy 4 (6*) months rent
16-20 years tenancy 5 (6*) months rent
Over 20 years tenancy 6 months rent

*If NOT rehoused into a non-market, subsidized unit.

For people who qualify for a deep subsidy or RGI rental unit, but are not senior or have a disability, the Tenant Relocation Coordinator must also provide additional assistance finding a new rental unit and help them apply for rent supplements.

This policy has built-in accountability measures to ensure developers follow it. Council and staff will regularly review the policy to make sure it meets the needs of our community.

For more information, please read the complete policy.

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