A rent increase tsunami? Not because of Vancouver’s rental protection rules

According to rental market real estate experts David and Mark Goodman, the only things standing between Vancouver tenants and a rental wonderland of affordable new housing are Vancouver’s rental replacement bylaws that protect the city’s stock of older rental housing. They’re wrong.

These rules, originally implemented by the NPA and continued by subsequent councils, were designed to ensure a rental unit was replaced by another rental unit whenever new construction was proposed. (The current council is awaiting staff recommendations to further tighten this protection.)

These bylaws are doing a good job of protecting the city’s older rental stock from destruction. If you want to see the alternative, look no further than Burnaby, where condominium towers are mowing down older rental around Metrotown.

The city’s invaluable older rental stock, where most lower cost units are located, is further protected by community and city zoning rules.

But the Goodmans, pointing to big 20 percent rent increases when units are vacated by current tenants, say shortage of new rental is building a potential rent increase tsunami that can only be resolved by replacing existing rental with much larger new rental buildings. They’re furious at the claim a rental building has been rejected by the city that would have replaced 16 units with 80.

Massive densification of rental appeals to some landlords, of course, because they would get a big land value boost from the additional density and a big rent revenue jump as well.

It’s not welcomed by residents of the existing units or by neighbourhoods already providing homes for middle and lower income families in the relatively dense rental districts.

Vancouver’s Rental 100 program is adding 1,000 units a year of secured market rental housing. Our city rules are not the problem — the absence of provincial and federal support for rental construction is where the Goodmans should concentrate.

And in the meantime, let’s be grateful the province retains even the minimum rent controls now in place.