New B.C. housing legislation could have unintended consequences: expert

As the province prepares to push forward four pieces of housing legislation designed to add long-term rental housing in B.C., an expert says he’s worried about some unintended consequences.

Andy Yan, director of the City Program at Simon Fraser University, says he does have major questions about how the changes will play out — especially when it comes to tenant protections and what will happen when existing buildings are torn down to build new ones.

He says the bills are an opportunity for the provincial government to take action.

“How can we provide provincial-wide levels of tenant protection knowing that parts of this type of legislation will have a level of displacement?” he asked.

“This opens up the opportunity — and perhaps the need — to have a province-wide standard of tenant protection. That’s because this is mandated in terms of development and change from the province that the province itself is responsible for consistent tenant protection and transition plans.”

He says this is also a chance for the B.C. government to specifically prioritize purpose-built rentals and nonmarket housing near transit areas, and to ensure that communities have the infrastructure they need to keep up with the people who’ll be living in the new housing.

One of the changes from this round of legislation will see municipalities required to build up density near transit hubs, but Yan says that could lead to demovictions in those areas — with tenants being displaced as their buildings are torn down to make room for new ones.

Yan points to cities like Burnaby that have rules requiring replacement units and first right of refusal for tenants who have been demovicted.

Members of BC United and the BC Greens have said they feel the provincial NDP government is pushing legislation through with no opportunity for debate or scrutiny.

Top Stories

Top Stories

Most Watched Today