Premier David Eby on his fourth day in office is introducing a suite of housing affordability measures including proposed laws that could order fast-growing municipalities to meet housing supply targets and end rental restrictions based on age or type of building.
The proposed measures were promised by Eby in his leadership campaign and come as B.C. faces a growing housing crisis where more housing is need for both renters and buyers.
If passed, the proposed Housing Supply Act would come into effect through regulations in mid-2023, while proposed amendments to the Strata Property Act would come into effect immediately.
A Housing Supply Act would require the fastest-growing communities in “urgent” need of housing stock — eight to 10 communities are estimated by the province to fall into this category — to establish housing targets in consultation with the province.
The target-setting is intended to be a collaborative approach. Municipalities will figure where and how that housing is built.
The province did not say Monday which municipalities have been flagged as being in an urgent state of need, only that those municipalities will be notified after the legislation comes into effect early next year.
The government also plans to introduce Strata Property Act amendments this week, which if passed would end certain rental restrictions, including those that limit tenants to people 19 and older or 30 and older — which essentially bans young families with children.
The amendment to the Strata Property Act would also end bans on condo owners renting their units.
The province estimates there are about 300,000 strata units that may be subject to rental bans. However, the Act would still allow stratas to have bylaws banning short-term rentals such as Airbnbs.
Housing is one of the issues Eby said he planned to tackle when he was sworn in on Friday in Vancouver.
Eby, who was housing minister before running for premier, released a housing plan during his fall leadership campaign aimed at addressing affordability, targeting speculators and protecting renters.
His proposed plan said a government under his leadership would fast-track affordable housing by speeding approvals, use government land for some projects, make all secondary suites across the province legal and allow homebuilders to replace a single-family house with up to three units on the same lot.
The matter of secondary suites is not specifically addressed in measures being announced this morning.
Eby said on Friday that he planned to “hit the ground running” and then set out two one-time payments for residents, to help mitigate inflation pressures for residents.
On Sunday, he announced a new public safety plan to increase enforcement on repeat violent offenders and expand mental-health crisis response teams.