Councillor Adriane Carr is calling for an audit of Vancouver’s program that provides incentives for developers of what the city describes as “for-profit affordable rental housing”.
Carr wants to know if the program currently known as Rental 100 is actually producing affordable housing for renters.
In a motion, Carr noted that the city hasn’t tracked rents under Rental 100 and its predecessor, the Short Term Incentives for Rental (STIR), since projects were completed.
In an interview, Carr said she has heard that rents have become “way higher” in some of these developments.
“I have heard from people that there are some projects that came through either the Rental 100 or the earlier STIR program that really never have delivered the kind of affordability that we expected,” Carr told the Georgia Straight by phone.
Carr also claimed that she has heard that the addresses of some of these projects have changed and are now different from what were identified in staff reports submitted to council.
One of the various Rental 100 incentives is an exemption from payment of development-cost levies (DCLs) if rents at first occupancy do not exceed rates stipulated by the city in its guidelines.
The starting rents apply at the date of the public hearing, and developers can raise rents each year while projects are being built at the rate allowed by the province’s tenancy law.
Under the rental-incentive guidelines for 2018, “for-profit affordable rental housing” projects are eligible for DCL waivers if their proposed starting rents for East Side projects do not exceed $1,496 for a studio, $1,730 for a one bedroom, $2,505 for two bedrooms, and $3,365 for three bedrooms.
For the West Side, the maximum starting rents are $1,646 for a studio, $1,903 for a one bedroom, $2,756 for two bedrooms, and $3,702 for three bedrooms.
In her motion, Carr noted that both STIR and Rental 100 have been subsidized by taxpayers. The motion has been referred for council discussion Wednesday (June 20).