Secure renters make for a better Vancouver

COPE Councillor Jean Swanson’s motion [PDF] to give tenants protection from landlords during renovations was referred to committee at city hall November 27 so that members of the public would have an opportunity to speak to it.

The motion proposes immediate changes to the city’s Relocation and Protection Policy. There are a number of changes, but the most important one is that tenants would only have to move out temporarily during renovations, without their leases ending or the rents going up. If passed by council, this would be an enormous victory for tenants.

So many people spoke to the motion on the first day — all in favour of it — that the speakers’ list was carried over.

It will be interesting to see where members of this new city council stand on the issue. One would expect that the five NPA councillors, with their party generally more supportive of landlords and businesses, will vote against it. If so, Councillor Swanson will need the support of the three Green councillors, the one OneCity councillor and the mayor in order to succeed.

I’m keeping my fingers crossed that the motion does get the support of council. In today’s market of overpriced rentals, tenants are feeling very vulnerable. The extremely low rental vacancy rate, which just dropped from 0.9% to 0.8%, makes matters even worse.

More than half of Vancouverites are renters, so this is an issue that affects the majority of people in our city.

I think most of us forget how extensive the number of renters is in Vancouver. A policy change that benefits tenants ultimately benefits all of us by stabilizing our community and giving the majority of people a fairer chance of having secure housing and a better lifestyle.

Numerous studies have shown that when people feel more stable and financially secure, they spend more. Surely business people can’t argue against that.

cityscape-2747226_640Let’s spread the word on social media to email mayor and councillors to support Councillor Swanson’s motion. We can affect the vote on this motion and make Vancouver more affordable immediately. Time is of the essence to let councillors know you support better protection for renters, so please do it today!

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PDF of Councillor Jean Swanson’s motion Protecting Tenants from Renovictions and Aggressive Buy-Outs

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