New premier puts housing at forefront of agenda
British Columbia’s new premier says it is unacceptable, given the housing crisis, that strata rules stand in the way of some people renting a condo unit.
David Eby has announced the introduction of two new laws, that if passed, are aimed at addressing the desperate housing shortage in the province, driven by a boom in the population and lack of supply.
One of the measures would end strata rules that stop certain individuals from getting into a condo unit because some buildings have "19+ only" age restrictions, meaning couples starting a family have to plan to move out as soon as they become pregnant.
“It is simply unacceptable that a British Columbian who is searching Craig’s List for somewhere to rent can’t find a home, and somebody who owns a condo is not permitted to rent that home to the individual,” Eby said a media briefing Monday.
“Responding to the housing crisis means not forcing people to move simply because they want to start a family,” he said.
Eby said nearly 3,000 units of housing across BC could be freed up immediately by the changes to the strata rules.
The government also hopes a second key element of their housing supply act will help speed up development and increase supply by giving the province the power to set housing targets in municipalities with the greatest need and highest projected growth.
But Eby would not be drawn on what powers the province would have if municipalities did not overcome local barriers to construction and development approval and therefore did not meet their annual targets.
“The goal here is to make sure municipalities are on track and if they’re starting to lose ground that we’re supporting them and addressing the issues they’re facing,” Eby explained, adding clear benchmarks would be set and sometimes the lack of progress may lie with the province in areas such as permitting, amenities, and infrastructure.
“This bill is not targeted at any specific municipality, it’s targeted at the relationship that the province has with cities and the demand that every British Columbian has the reasonable belief that we will work together to address the housing crisis and build the housing that we need.”
The government said the targets will be based on information provided by, and in consultation with, municipalities.
The new housing targets will encourage municipalities to address local barriers to construction so that housing can get built faster, including updating zoning bylaws and streamlining local development approval processes.
Published 2022-11-21 by Glenn Hicks
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