Victoria approves temporary moratorium on rental housing demolitions
The city of Victoria is moving ahead to ban the demolition of rental apartments for 6 months in efforts to address the current housing crisis, even though city staff say councillors may not have the authority to do that.
Dozens of people rallied outside City Hall calling for the moratorium, noting Greater Victoria's vacancy rate is one of the lowest in the country at 0.5%.
Councillors gave unanimous approval to the motion. Under the policy Council will not approve of new demolitions of buildings containing more than 4 units when the vacancy rate falls below a benchmark of 4%. The motion also notes efforts to do so will be done "to the greatest extent possible within the city's legal authority."
Councillor Jeremy Loveday says the 6 month period gives council time to accomplish a few things:
" That 6 months gives the city time to work on policy on an expedited basis to make sure that we're in a place to make sure that the housing units that are being demolished or redeveloped , we're able to have policies that make sure that those units will be returned as rental housing and at rates for the people who are currently living in those units."
Loveday says the city will also conduct a rental housing retention review and adopt a maintenance bylaw:
"Within this slate of policies is a saying that we need to develop a standards of properties maintenance bylaw to make sure that the units are kept in decent shape, and to make sure these buildings aren't essentially demolished through neglect."
The motion also calls for increased municipal protection for tenants faced with evictions because of renovations or demolition.