City of Burnaby first in BC to Take Advantage of New Provincial Rental Zoning Legislation to Assist in Maintaining Rental Housing

The City of Burnaby will be the first in the province to take advantage of the new rental zoning law by implementing a Burnaby Rental Zoning Bylaw aimed at maintaining rental stock at affordable costs. Beginning in the 1990s, the City advocated allowing cities the authority to zone for rental.

“Burnaby has been a consistent advocate with asking provincial governments to invest in low-cost housing and give municipalities zoning for rental housing as a method to increase and protect the supply of rental housing in our community,” said Mayor Derek Corrigan. We were optimistic when the new legislation came in about six weeks ago that allows us the tools to require older market rental buildings be replaced as part of any redevelopment. Previously, cities could only attempt to negotiate density in exchange for small numbers of market units, but now we will have the legislative authority to require the replacement.”

Corrigan added, “We really appreciate Premier Horgan's government for enacting this broad legislation giving municipalities an additional tool to develop rental housing. As the City who asked for rental zoning, and government investment in housing, for decades, we are pleased to be the first City to make it work and help toward making life more affordable for our citizens.”

As a first step in this process, City Council passed a motion on July 23, 2018, asking city staff to implement a rental zoning bylaw to ensure that all redevelopment of current purpose built market rental sites be required to include the replacement of the current number of units within the neighbourhood, and that they be rented at established, affordable rates, and be made available to current tenants. In addition to complying with the new rental zoning bylaw requirements, all redevelopment of market rental buildings will also contain the satisfactory inclusion of a non-market or social housing component.

The rental zoning bylaw process is expected to include necessary consultation; Official Community Plan amendments; and, zoning regulatory processes.

In May this year, the new government passed the Residential Rental Tenure Zoning Amendment Act which provides new powers to cities via the Local Government Act. In a July 3, 2018 bulletin, issued by the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing, the ministry noted that the legislation provides local governments the authority to enact zoning bylaws that:

  • Require that new housing in residential areas be developed as rental units;
  • Ensure that existing areas of rental housing are preserved as such;
  • Set different rules in relation to restricting the form of tenure of housing units
    for different zones and locations within a zone; and,
  • Require that a certain number, portion or percentage of housing units in a building be

Since 2013, the City has more than 1,000 units of non-market housing being constructed or in the process and more than 1,600 market rental units under construction or in process at this time.

Currently, Burnaby is home to more than 5,900 units of non-market housing, 1,900 units of co-op housing, and 32,000 units of market rental.