David Eby’s actions on housing affordability become law

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Today, Premier David Eby’s action to speed up housing development and increase housing supply passed in the B.C. Legislature and became law.

The Housing Supply Act is designed to kickstart new housing construction by giving the provincial government the ability to set municipal housing targets. It gives the Minister of Housing the authority to ensure compliance to make sure housing gets built, should municipalities with the highest need struggle to deliver enough housing.

The Building Strata Statutes Amendment Act prevents stratas from banning rentals in their buildings and ends unfair age restrictions. In areas where government has data through the Speculation and Vacancy Tax, there are approximately 2,900 empty condos that cannot be rented out because strata rules prevent them from renting out their condo – and we expect there are more in other areas of the province.

Kevin Falcon’s B.C. Liberals voted against both bills at earlier stages before flip flopping on the Housing Supply Act and voting against the Strata Statutes Amendment Act.

Falcon’s Finance Critic Peter Milobar criticized the Strata bill, warning it means “that your neighbour, whether you like it or not, could be a renter.”

B.C. Liberal MLA Dan Ashton called to “postpone” Housing Supply Act and Renee Merrifield also criticized the bill, saying we don’t need “a heavier hammer” on housing affordability.

While the B.C. Liberals try to delay and stand in the way of action, other British Columbians are lining up to support it.

Here’s what other people are saying about the changes to strata rules:

“When things are this severe, I think we need to be making use of every unit that’s available. And we don’t want to have discriminatory policies that seem to imply that renters are lesser neighbors and that they need to be restricted in buildings.” -Alex Hemingway, Canadian Centre for Policy Alternatives (CKNW, Nov 23)

“We welcome the changes to the Strata Property Act regarding rentals and age restrictions. I think that is something that has been good. It creates another option to expand housing inventory in the short term, while other aspects of government’s plan looks to the long term.” -Kelowna Mayor Tom Dyas (CBC Kelowna)

“Had it been done in 2010, we probably would have seen a different rental market.” -Doug King Executive Director, Together Against Poverty Society (CFAX Nov 22)

“I personally think it’ll bring down the price of renting a home for the average person in BC because there’s going to be so many more units available for rent.” -Glenn Warren, real estate agent (Global Nov 22)

“I think that it’s good not only for renters, but I also think that it’s good for the people who are living in stratas that have restricted rentals..” -Aaron Jasper, real estate agent (CKNW Nov 22)

“It would be a significant upgrade for us to be able to say, ‘OK, now we can rent it out. Now we can do something with it.’ We don’t feel like we’re hanging on to this empty place that somebody should be living in.” -Shane Woodford, condo owner (CityNews, Nov 22)