Vancouver to meet Rental 100 housing goal

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      Vancouver will likely meet its goal of encouraging the development of 5,000 new market rental units by 2021.

      So far, 4,331 units that have been completed, are under construction, or have been approved under the city’s Rental 100: Secured Market Rental Policy and its predecessor, the Short Term Incentives for Rental, or STIR, program.

      The number was in a staff report about a rezoning application for a rental development on Fraser Street and East 64th Avenue that was up for public hearing on November 24.

      Under Rental 100, developers receive incentives, including an exemption from paying development-cost levies. In return, the development is secured for rental for the longer of 60 years or the life of the building.

      But according to councillor George Affleck of the Non-Partisan Association, it’s not exactly true that these units are secured for their lifetime as rental. Affleck recalled that, based on an explanation by staff, a developer can ask a future council to have the building taken out of the rental stock and have its units sold as condos.

      “They are no way secure in the way that Vision spins it,” Affleck told the Straight by phone about the ruling party’s rental-development program. Affleck said that a future council is not bound by any decision made by the current council and can reverse any agreement entered into under Rental 100.

      Vision Vancouver councillor Geoff Meggs acknowledged that this is a “theoretical possibility” but insisted that it’s unthinkable.

      “The only way that someone could change that is to come back to council and say, ‘I want now to convert this building to a condominium and I therefore need a further rezoning,’ ” Meggs said by phone. “And so it’s just inconceivable to me that that would ever happen.”

      Besides, Meggs added, the city has the “tightest protection” for rental homes.