A 173-unit condo development in Port Moody, B.C., has moved the dial on the rent-to-own concept, and income-generating secondary rental suites.
Port Moody council has given third reading to amend zoning bylaws and the city’s official community plan for the Aultrust Development project at 3000 Henry Street, reports the TriCity News.
It took 14 years and three developers for the project to get this far in the approval process.
Coun. Meghan Lahti said, the developer’s plan to make 17 units more affordable to through a rent-to-own program, a provision to build six lock-off suites that can accommodate extended families or be divided to create an income property, as well as a partnership with the Kinsight Community Society to manage a large ground-floor unit that will allow several of its clients to live independently with supports “is a unique opportunity.”
Phillip Scott, a real estate development consultant who’s acting as the project’s manager, said its long gestation has resulted in a “much more inclusive and creative building” that will be a “landmark” in the city.
The project got as far as third reading eight years ago, but was then put on hold for six years over concerns about geotechnical, environmental and stormwater management issues. It was briefly revived by another developer in 2018 before it was acquired by Vancouver-based Aultrust Development, whose managing partner is Port Moody’s Navid Morawej.
Morawej conceded the project “does have an extensive history” but, he told council, his company’s effort to address affordability issues has generated “lots of interest” in the community about its rent-to-own program.
More than 200 people have sought information on the rent-to-own program,
Here is how the program works, according to the company: People with a $5,000 deposit can use the market rent they pay – estimated at $2,000 per month – for two years as a credit toward the purchase of the home. The developer pays all property tax and insurance during that two-year period. The savings from rents and time-value of deposit can add up to 7.2 per cent of the purchase price.
The purchase price is negotiated and fixed at the beginning of the term. Prospects may be enabled to take on a conventional mortgage with a 20 per cent down payment and won't have to pay the additional 3 per cent mortgage insurance for down payments less than 10 per cent.
Prospects are not obligated to purchase their homes at the end of the two-year period. They can simply walk away and forfeit their $5,000 deposit and the rents that they paid. “Although it is difficult to imagine why they would do that,” a company spokesman noted.
Architect Tim Ankenman said while the overall design of the building has remained much the same as was first proposed in 2006, amenities such as work-share spaces and green roofs and a commitment to protect two nearby streams and dedicating more than half the property as parkland have made the project more agreeable to Port Moody council and residents.
Port Moody’s general manager of planning and development, André Boel, said that, should the project get its final green light to go ahead, “our main goal… is to make sure it is built appropriately.”