City of Montreal tweaks bylaw to make social, affordable housing more accessible

CONDO CONSTRUCTION

By Katelyn Thomas CTV News Montreal Digital Reporter

The City of Montreal has revealed a new version of its "diverse metropolis" bylaw, aimed at increasing accessibility to affordable housing. 

The updated version of the bylaw will force developers who wish to build residences with five or more units in certain areas to enter in agreement with the city.

To receive a permit to build, they will need to contribute to the supply of social, affordable and family housing in the city, either through construction, the sale of land or a financial contribution. 

“If we want more families to move to Montreal, we need to make sure we have a housing supply that is geared towards them," Montreal Mayor Valerie Plante said in a Thursday news release.
"The COVID-19 crisis has hit the most vulnerable populations, families and middle-income households, especially those who want to own property in Montreal. With these bylaw for a diverse metropolis, we are giving ourselves the means to build a welcoming living environment everywhere in Montreal, where accommodation at a reasonable price is possible and where families have the means to settle." 

To ensure the updated version of the bylaw isn't too hard on real estate developers, the requirements will be applied in specific sectors of the city. The afforable component will also be applied gradually, the release says, and the new version bylaw is set to come into force in April 2021. 

“Construction in Montreal must be diversified to meet everyone's needs," said Robert Beaudry, an executive committee member with the City of Montreal responsible for housing, in the news release. "We have taken note of the recommendations of the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) and we have also heard the concerns of the construction industry. With this new version of the regulation, we are achieving a balance between the need for more social, affordable and family housing and the natural development of the private market." 

The release says the plan is to ensure the diversity of neighbourhoods that are under transformation through the construction of 600 social housing units and 500 family housing units -- at market price -- every year. 

"The regulation will also create a new lever to protect older rental properties where the goal is to maintain affordable rents," the release says. 

The bylaw comes after a public consultation by the OCPM in the fall of 2019. A second consultation was called, separate from the OCPM, as is customary when it comes to urban planning. This consultation will be the last stage of the process and has been set for Nov. 18 to Dec. 7, subject to the approval of city council. 

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