When the landlords of Burnaby spoke up, city council listened.
City council voted this week to slash some fees for its new home rental licence after hearing what Mayor Mike Hurley called “a fair bit of feedback and concerns from residents.”
The city originally planned to charge homeowners a $570 annual fee, plus $50 application fee if they rent out their home without living there.
The fee was first created last year to replace a utility surcharge for homeowners with secondary suites. It was set to extend next year to all homeowners who do not live in a home they rent out.
As declarations forms and information about the new program were distributed, the city heard back from homeowners, unhappy about the new expense.
“We have taken these concerns to heart and restructured our approach in a way that I think is fair,” Hurley said.
The licence for those renting out a home they don't live in will be $130 annually, with the planned $50 application fee eliminated.
The city has also reduced the fee for a rented suite in a duplex to approximately $430 – half the 2019 water and sewer charges for one of two main units in a duplex.
The fee for owners who live in their home but rent out a secondary suite will remain. In 2020, it will be roughly $570 (a 50% utllity surcharge).
Anyone who rents out both the main unit and a secondary suite in a home, and does not live there, will be charged both the $130 fee and the 50% utility surcharge.
“These proposed changes would ensure that all rental property owners in Burnaby are treated equally across the board,” Hurley said.
Homeowners have until Nov. 30 to return rental declarations, whether they rent out or not. The city plans to send out bills for rental licences in the new year.
This story has been edited to clarify the details of the city's new program.