On Tuesday, May 9, Vancouver City Councillor Pete Fry will introduce a motion to Council to direct staff to track renovictions, demovictions, and the number of displaced renters affected by redevelopment of the Broadway Corridor.
The motion is entitled "Tracking the Broadway Plan Pace of Demoviction," a direct allusion to the Pace of Change Policy that was proposed by City staff in March and was ultimately rejected by Council and denounced by many in the industry.
"In essence," Fry points out, "the Broadway Plan's proposed Pace of Change is synonymous with Pace of Demoviction," as the target of the policy was the redevelopment of rental buildings.
The Pace of Change Policy was shot down because many believed the existing Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy (TRPP) would already do what the Pace of Change Policy was hoping to achieve: protect displaced renters.
Fry notes, however, that there is a loophole that can potentially be exploited if left unaddressed.
"Real estate economics and opportunities have incentivized the redevelopment of even newly renovated and newly tenanted buildings," Fry writes. "This loophole, if exploited either by intent or by happenstance could allow for buildings to be emptied under a building permit for renovation, then re-tenanted, and then subsequently cleared for demolition and redevelopment -- thereby circumventing length-of-tenure and right-of-return-based TRPP."
Fry also makes direct allusion to the ABC-majority Council deciding in January to shut down the Renters Office, which Fry launched a motion to create back in November 2018. The decision drew plenty of criticism, with the three non-ABC councillors -- Pete Fry, Adriane Carr, and Christine Boyle -- releasing a joint statement condemning the decision.
Among the concerns was the fact that it's the Renters Office that enforces the TRPP, and that the ABC councillors were shunning renters. They instead approved $750,000 in grants to non-profits in the rental sector.
In his new motion, Fry calls on Council to "affirm a commitment to protect affordable rental stock in the Broadway Plan area," by directing staff to track the following:
- Building permits issued for multiple-dwelling-use renovations;
- Demolition permits issued for multiple-dwelling buildings;
- Number of residents identified in City's mandatory Needs Assessment that are being considered under Tenant Relocation plans; and
- Vacancy rates with average rents.
Fry's motion also asks Council to direct staff to report back with a way of identifying the number of building permits used for renovations that will require vacancy, the number of tenants given eviction notices for renovations, and any other recommendations "to limit unsustainable displacement of tenants, including but not limited to reconsideration of a new pace of change policy or limits on renovictions."