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Burnaby credits new policies for ‘historic surge’ in cheaper non-market rentals

Non-market projects outpacing market rental projects
A view of Metrotown in Burnaby.

The City of Burnaby says that for the first time in its history non-market rental housing is outpacing the development of market rental housing.

The city says that 6,700 units of non-market housing are currently in-stream to be developed in Burnaby.

“In total more than 9,600 units of rental housing – both non-market and market – are in development or awaiting review from City Council, a huge increase in rental property development that can be attributed to Burnaby’s innovative policies, some of which were adopted at the recommendation of the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Housing,” said a news release.

The city says it is “driving” the creation of non-market rental housing in three ways:

  • Introducing the Rental Use Zoning Policy (RUZP), which requires a minimum of 20 percent of the total market units in new multi-family developments to have rental rates 20 per cent below-CMHC market median rental rates to increase rent affordability;
  • Utilizing city-owned lands to develop non-market rental housing; and
  • Facilitating the development of non-profit-led housing projects.

“Burnaby’s Rental Use Zoning Policy also encourages the development of market rental units, which increases the availability of rental housing,” said the city. “Since the adoption of this policy, 12 market rental units have been approved and 1,242 units are under review.”

The city says that as new units are created, and old purpose-built buildings are renovated, the Rental Use Zoning Policy requires developers to provide replacement units for displaced tenants.

“In addition, Burnaby tenants are protected by the City’s Tenant Assistance Policy,” reads a statement. “It is one of the most robust and progressive tenant assistance policies in Canada, ensuring people can stay in their neighbourhood at the same rent.”