A proposed development highlights the City of Vancouver’s measure of what it calls “for-profit affordable rental housing”.
Yearly, the city updates a bulletin setting the initial maximum rents that can be charged on these projects.
In exchange, developers get a number of incentives, including a waiver on paying development cost levies or DCLs.
For 2021, the starting rents for new east side rentals are as follows: $1,653, studio; $2,022, one bedroom; $2,647, two bedrooms; and $3,722, three bedrooms.
On the more expensive west side of the city, the initial maximum rents are: $1,818, studio; $2,224, one bedroom; $2,912, two bedrooms; and $4,094, three bedrooms.
Based on the 2016 federal census, the City of Vancouver has drawn an official profile of social indicators for 2020.
The city profile notes that the median personal income in the city is $39,000.
The standard measure of affordability is 30 percent of income for housing costs.
Using this 30 percent standard, someone earning an income of $39,000 should pay only $975 for a one-bedroom unit or studio in Vancouver.
The said bulletin containing initial maximum rents was cited in a city staff report about a proposed rezoning to allow a six-storey development on the east side of the city.
A rezoning application for 4426-4464 Knight Street and 1406 East 28th Avenue was filed by GBL Architects on behalf of Alliance Wingsail (Knight Street) Holdings Ltd.
If approved, the six-storey rental building will contain 72 market rental housing units, including 10 live-work units.
Yardley McNeill, assistant director of rezoning, wrote in the staff report that the project “meets the intent” of the city’s Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy or ACH.
Moreover, the project meets the city’s definition of “for-profit affordable rental housing”.
This means that the operators of the rental project can charge the following 2021 maximum rents at first occupany: $1,653, studio; $2,022, one bedroom; $2,647, two bedrooms; and $3,722, three bedrooms.
“Staff note that the term ‘for-profit affordable rental housing’ as defined by the Vancouver Charter, and used in relation to the DCL By-law, does not necessarily create rental units which are affordable to all Vancouver residents,” McNeill wrote.
McNeill also noted that although the application was eligible for a waiver, the applicant has chosen not to take it.
“As the project is subject to a Community Amenity Contribution (CAC), should the applicant choose to pursue a DCL waiver at a later stage, the application will be subject to further review to determine if an additional land lift is generated,” the city planner stated.
The proposed rezoning for 4426-4464 Knight Street and 1406 East 28th Avenue is included in the public hearing agenda of city council on September 21.