COQUITLAM, BC, Nov. 25, 2021 – More help is now available for tenants of Coquitlam rental buildings that are being redeveloped.
Earlier this week, Council approved updates to the City’s 2018 Tenant Relocation Policy to clarify and enhance the support, compensation and information for renters during redevelopment of rental housing.
The renewed policy brings this work in line with current practice, creating better, clearer expectations for developers by providing consistent rules, criteria and requirements on assistance to be provided to tenants. The revisions to the policy include requirements for increased advance notification, support for moving expenses, and a new Renter Information Package describing policy requirements and compensation in plain language.
The Renter Information Package was a specific request from Coquitlam City Council to ensure renters have consistent information related to the Tenant Relocation Policy, the development process and tenancy rights. Based on Statistics Canada data on the top languages spoken in Coquitlam, the Renter Information Package will be provided in English, Chinese, Korean and Farsi to improve accessibility.
The policy is part of Coquitlam’s successful Housing Affordability Strategy, which has facilitated thousands of new rental and affordable housing units through incentives and partnerships since 2015.
New Policy Details
Under Coquitlam’s updated Tenant Relocation Policy, requirements for applicants include:
- Early notification and communication – Before submitting a redevelopment application, developers must hold a tenant information session to inform tenants of their plans and the various steps, provide them with the Renter Information Package, and explain the details and timing of the compensation available to them. Although developers are only required to pay compensation once they submit their formal development application, they will be encouraged to work directly with renters wishing to depart pre-application, and report the details and supports they provided.
- Financial compensation – The new compensation package at for-profit projects is competitive with other regional municipalities and includes payment for moving expenses.
- Help finding other housing options – Development applicants will continue to be encouraged to phase development to retain existing housing as long as possible, or alternately, to provide appropriate resources to help tenants relocate.
- Right of first refusal – Existing tenants will continue to have the right of first refusal to move into the new building if the project includes new rental units.
- Compliance monitoring and implementation – Developers will need to complete a checklist of specific requirements for their application to be successful.
- Rental replacement – Applicants will be eligible to receive incentives to replace the former rental units through the City’s Housing Affordability Strategy. These incentives have been highly successful to date and often lead to projects that well exceed the one-to-one replacement requirement.
More information on the policy and the Housing Affordability Strategy is available at www.coquitlam.ca/housing.
Coquitlam as a Regional Housing Leader
Unique in Metro Vancouver, Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy (HAS) has significantly improved the City’s rental housing landscape. Since the adoption of the HAS in 2015, there are 7,399 new units of purpose-built rental and 1,041 units of below-market and non-market rental in the development process in Coquitlam.
Through the HAS, the City leverages its role and available tools as a municipality to:
- Provide developers with density incentives (more units) to create rental units;
- Secure partnerships with the development sector, senior levels of government and housing providers; and
- Redirect some developer density bonus fees (paid in exchange for more units) to the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund (AHRF) to support new affordable housing projects.
Over the past five years, the City has granted $9.9 million through the AHRF to support the creation of 378 non-market and below-market rental units. The City has also committed to leasing two parcels of land at a nominal rate to non-profit housing providers in order to create affordable housing.
About Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy
Coquitlam’s Housing Affordability Strategy (HAS) was adopted by City Council in December 2015 to broaden the variety of housing types, sizes, prices and ownership in the city. A cornerstone of the Strategy is the Affordable Housing Reserve Fund (AHRF), which acts as the key funding mechanism for affordable housing projects by leveraging a portion of density bonus contributions from development towards potential affordable housing options. Information about the strategy, including AHRF qualification criteria, is available at www.coquitlam.ca/housing.
Director, Community Planning