On December 4th Vancouver city council voted unanimously in favor of an amended motion to ban renovictions.
It is a partial victory, but a victory nonetheless.
The motion, "Protecting Tenants from Renovictions and Aggressive Buyouts", was introduced by COPE councillor Jean Swanson almost a month earlier, at the first regular meeting of the newly elected council.
Over 90 tenants signed up to speak to the motion, including Vivian Bauman, Berkeley Tower tenants, and others fighting renovicitons from across the city who have organized with the VTU.
Dozens packed City Hall in support on multiple nights over the next several weeks as the motion was debated by the mayor and council.
Top L-R: VTU Steering Committee member speaks to council; VTU member clapping as motion passes;
Bottom: Councillor Jean Swanson addresses tenants packed in city hall
Here's what passed:
- Tenants covered by the Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy may come back to their apartments after renovations without breaking their leases (NO RENT INCREASE)
- The city will track sold apartment buildings and inform tenants of their rights upon sale
- The city will explore measures to regulate and record tenants buyouts.
- The city will ask province for more power to regulate tenancy matters
Here's what parts have been deferred to staff to study (did NOT pass):
- The City calling on the province to implement effective vacancy controls in BC, or give Vancouver the power to regulate maximum rent increases during and between tenancies. (Part D of the motion)
- The city expanding the Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy to all rental units. (Part A,ii of the motion) This policy currently only applies to purpose-built rental stock with 6 or more units) and building permits - (this is arguably the biggest loophole in the current law).
Make no mistake - this was made possible by tenants who organized and stood together.
However, we still have our work cut out for us in 2019 when staff reports back on the items that were deferred. We’re going to get ALL tenants in this city protected.
Photo by Nat Lowe