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Dan Fumano: The ‘ticking Time Bomb’ Threatening Affordable Rental Homes

Dan Fumano: The ‘ticking time bomb’ threatening affordable rental homes

By DAN FUMANO for Vancouver Sun

The intricacies of B.C.’s property assessments are meeting the realities of Metro Vancouver’s property market in a way that discourages the operation of long-term affordable rental housing in favour of the development of new condos, landlords say.

In other words, the system seems to incentivize the opposite of the outcome our leaders say they want.

Development industry professionals will tell you that today, no one except the government can build new rental housing in Vancouver that’s truly affordable for many locals. But if the private sector can’t build affordable rental homes, they can maintain them.

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Older rental homes are, as expected, more affordable. CMHC data show Vancouver apartments built between 1975 and 1989 are, on average, 40 per cent cheaper than those built since 2005. But longtime landlords say the current system threatens their ability to operate the older rental apartments that form a crucial part of the city’s housing stock.

Consider the Broughton Apartments in Vancouver’s West End. In 2015, the property taxes for this 40-year-old, 47-unit rental building on Davie Street were assessed at $854 per unit, said a representative of the owner, Cressey Development Group. For this year, the assessment is expected to be around $2,620 per unit.

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