Despite discount, returning tenants at new Vancouver development will pay higher rents

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      A number of tenants who will be displaced from a Vancouver rental development site can return when the project is done.

      They are entitled to what is called right of first refusal. It comes with a rental discount too.

      However, those who want to come back are going to pay more rent even with the discount.

      The additional rent is going to be anywhere between at least $400 to over $600.

      The rental discount is typically 20 percent, but in this case, the developer is giving more.

      According to a City of Vancouver staff report, the developer of the project at 8636-8656 Oak Street has “committed” to increase the right of first refusal discount to 30 percent.

      The Marpole site has two rental properties with a total of 43 units, and the project involves the development of 91 new units in two six-storey buildings.

      The report noted that the average rent for a studio at the current rental properties is $690 per month.

      The new project will charge a starting rate of $1,575 for a studio. With a 30 percent discount, returning tenants can have a new studio to live in for $1,103.

      That’s a difference of $413 compared to the existing average rent.

      A one-bedroom unit at the current rentals has an average rent of $768. The new project will charge a starting rent of $1,875 for a one bedroom.

      With a 30 percent discount, old tenants who will come back to a one bedroom will have to pay $1,313. It’s an additional $545 to their current rent.

      Two-bedroom units at the current rentals have an average rent of $1,100. The new rental will charge a starting rate of $2,450.

      A 30 percent discount means $1,715 for a returning tenant. That’s an extra $615 compared to the present average rent.

      Based on the staff report, there are no three-bedroom units in the current rental properties. The new project will charge $3,050 for three bedrooms. A 30 percent discount means a rent of $2,135.

      The starting rents will start to apply on the day Vancouver city council holds a public hearing on the application to rezone 8636-8656 Oak Street.

      “The proposed rents are comparable to or slightly below, in some unit types, the average rents in newer buildings in the west area of Vancouver,” according to the staff report. “The average rents are significantly below the monthly costs associated with purchasing a comparable strata unit.”

      The developer, identified as APCanada Investment Corporation, has asked the city to exempt it from paying development cost levies or DCLs.

      According to the report, the project is “consistent” with the city’s definition of “for-profit affordable rental housing”, for which DCLs “may be waived”.

      The value of the DCL exemption is $1.6 million.

      “If approved, this rezoning would replace the existing market rental buildings on site, and increase the number of rental dwelling units from 43 to 91, thus contributing 48 net new rental housing units in the achievement of the City’s affordable housing goals, as identified in Housing Vancouver Strategy,” according to the staff report.