City of Burnaby’s housing actions spark historic surge in creation of non-market rental housing

Last updated: December 3, 2021

More than 6,700 units of non-market housing are currently in-stream to be developed in Burnaby, marking the first time in the city’s history that non-market rental housing is outpacing the development of market rental housing.

In total more than 9,600 units of rental housing – both non-market and market – are in development or awaiting review from City Council, a huge increase in rental property development that can be attributed to Burnaby’s innovative policies, some of which were adopted at the recommendation of the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Housing.

“The latest Rental Housing Update report illustrates the dramatic effect that our housing policies have had on our rental market,” said Mayor Mike Hurley. “During the Mayor’s Task Force on Community Housing, we committed to finding ways to make it easier for families, seniors and people with a low income to find stable housing. We have plenty more work to do, but it is clear that we are moving in the right direction.”

The City is driving the creation of non-market rental housing in three ways:

  • Introducing the Rental Use Zoning Policy (RUZP), which requires a minimum of 20 percent of the total market units in new multi-family developments to have rental rates 20 per cent below-CMHC market median rental rates to increase rent affordability; 
  • Utilizing City-owned lands to develop non-market rental housing; and
  • Facilitating the development of non-profit led housing projects.

Together, these three actions have led to:

  • The development of 287 occupied non-market units, with 569 more units under construction, 315 units approved and over 6,700 units under review; and
  • Contributions of over $52.3 million from the Community Benefit Bonus Affordable Housing Reserve by Council to facilitate 
  • development of new non-market housing on City-owned sites, and an additional $17 million to assist non-profit societies with the development of non-market housing on other sites.

Burnaby’s Rental Use Zoning Policy also encourages the development of market rental units, which increases the availability of rental housing. Since the adoption of this policy, 12 market rental units have been approved and 1,242 units are under review.

As new units are created, and old purpose-built buildings are renovated, the Rental Use Zoning Policy requires developers to provide replacement units for displaced tenants. In addition, Burnaby tenants are protected by the City’s Tenant Assistance Policy. It is one of the most robust and progressive tenant assistance policies in Canada, ensuring people can stay in their neighbourhood at the same rent.

The City’s Rental Use Zoning policy was adopted in 2020. Since that time, applications that meet the new policy have come forward, and now are working their way through the rezoning and building permit approvals processes. While there are only a small number of units constructed today, the city anticipates many more units to be built and occupied in the future.

Learn More: Rental Housing Update (Staff report)

Media Contact:
Chris Bryan
Manager, Corporate Communications
Corporate Communications and Marketing Departments
604-570-3616 | [email protected]

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