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.

Just Posted

Victoria council narrowly approves transitional housing for former Tally Ho

Neighbours angry about decision to allow temporary three-year permit

Inner Harbour pathway in need of repairs: Harbour Authority

Victoria council approves initial design plans for walkway changes

RCMP open investigation to find missing Sooke macaw

$5,000 reward still being offered for safe return of Rufus

Check out what’s happening in Greater Victoria this weekend

From swimming championships to Oak Bay Light Up, there’s plenty to keep you busy this weekend

VicPD chief rescues lost $10 bill in downtown Victoria

The note was promptly returned to its owner unharmed

Victoria Royals giving a boost to fund inspired by Tragically Hip singer

Downie Wenjack Fund recipient of funds raised starting at tonight’s WHL game vs. Seattle

Esquimalt mayor frustrated at latest E&N railbed development

Barb Desjardins says it makes no sense to start over looking at commuter options for corridor

Nanaimo judge won’t let arsonist have a cigarette lighter

Martin Arthur Taylor previously pleaded guilty to February 2016 arson incident in Nanaimo

BC Ferries vehicle traffic last summer was best ever

CEO says positive results reduce future pressure on fares

Dead rats on doorstep greets Summerland mayor

Two rodents have been delivered to Peter Waterman’s doorstep

False killer whale ‘Chester’ dies at Vancouver Aquarium

He was found stranded near Tofino in July 2014 and only had a 10 per cent chance of making it at the time

Panda picks Argonauts for the win

Giant panda at the Toronto Zoo picks Argos to win Grey Cup on Sunday

Black Friday fervour wanes as some consumers, retailers shun practice

Some businesses are choosing to opt out, while some shoppers are turning to buying online

Most Read