This Cook Street Village apartment building was salvaged and moved off the property in May to make way for a larger new development. Victoria council is putting a hold on approving new demolition permits for older rental buildings, to try and get a grip on the shrinking affordable rental housing market in the city. Photo by GRT

City of Victoria imposes six-month moratorium on rental building demolitions

Move aims to slow down shrinking affordable rental housing market

It’s an issue Pamela Madoff has lost sleep over in recent months.

With the city’s vacancy rate hovering around 0.5 per cent, she and other city councillors have struggled to find ways to help ensure there are enough affordable rental units for those who want to live in Victoria. A new six-month moratorium on applications to demolish rental buildings with more than four units, aims to do that.

“We have to realize in taking what might be seen as strategic or dramatic action, we’re dealing with a perfect storm,” said Madoff, who brought forward the motion supported by councillors Ben Isitt and Jeremy Loveday at Thursday’s committee of the whole meeting.

“We have record low vacancies, high demand for development sites, and the availability of low interest loans,” she said. “In the last 15 months, the dollars per square foot that can be realized in a residential development have more than doubled.”

City staff were directed to conduct a market rental retention study while the moratorium is in place, to give council a better idea of potential solutions. The committee also asked staff to pull money out of the 2017 budget contingency fund to cover the cost of expediting the work, including possibly hiring an extra housing planner on a contract basis.

The motion is one of many brought forward in recent months to help deal with the city’s housing crisis and protect tenants from displacement. Most recently, council voted to regulate short-term vacation rentals, such as those rented through Airbnb, a move the city hopes will bring hundreds of units back into the residential rental market.

affordable housingCity of Victoria

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Comments are closed

Just Posted

Victoria Flamenco Festival goes virtual for 2020 event

The show will go online from July 23 to 26

Metchosin bird card project finds its wings

On display at Metchosin ArtPod from July 10 to 12

UVic research team creating virus-resistant washbasins for post-pandemic world

Civil engineer Rishi Gupta hopes basins will be installed in public spaces

Walk for Peace takes a virtual turn for Victoria Hospice

Residents can still register for Gordy Dodd’s 11th annual fundraiser

United Way Greater Victoria launches Hi Neighbour program in Esquimalt

Feedback sought from residents about funding for micro community projects

B.C. accommodators need phone lines to light up as in-province travel given green light

Travel restrictions during the COVID-19 pandemic have decimated the tourism and hospitality industries

300 Cache Creek residents on evacuation alert due to flood risk as river rises

Heavy rainfall on Canada Day has river rising steadily, threatening 175 properties

First glimpse of Canada’s true COVID-19 infection rate expected mid-July

At least 105,000 Canadians have tested positive for COVID-19 since the coronavirus was identified

Annual music event in Comox Valley celebrates online instead

Vancouver Island MusicFest holds virtual celebration set for July 10

Police ramp up efforts to get impaired drivers off B.C. roads this summer

July is dedicated to the Summer CounterAttack Impaired Driving Campaign

Migrant workers stage multi-city action for full status amid COVID-19 risks

‘COVID-19 has exacerbated an existing crisis’

Okanagan school drops ‘Rebels’ sports team name, citing links with U.S. Civil War

Name and formerly-used images “fly in the face” of the district’s human rights policy, says board chair

PHOTOS: B.C.’s top doc picks up personalized Fluevog shoes, tours mural exhibition

Murals of Gratitude exhibit includes at least one portrait of Henry alongside paintings of health-care workers

In troubled times: Independence Day in a land of confusion

Buffeted by invisible forces and just plain worn out, the United States of America celebrates its 244th birthday

Most Read