(Chronicle file photo)

(Chronicle file photo)

Ladysmith adopts set of bylaws to protect renters from renovictions

Council held a public hearing prior to adopting new bylaws

Ladysmith town council carried a set of bylaws that will regulate renovictions in properties with three or more rental units. Renoviction is a term used to describe a situation where landlords evict tenants to renovate a building — it often results in the owner charging higher rent after completion.

The town held a public hearing before adopting the new bylaws at its last council meeting of 2021.

Other municipalities, including New Westminster, have enacted similar bylaws in an effort to curb landlords from evicting longtime tenants.

In the case of Ladysmith’s bylaw, owners of applicable properties must have a valid business licence, meet provincial requirements for tenant compensations and allow the town to impose fees and penalties for not following the bylaw. The bylaw does allow for exemption in specific cases.

Coun. Rob Johnson had an issue with the renoviction bylaw, which he said, “would do more harm than good and would perpetuate substandard renovations.”

Mayor Stone responded that there are exemptions in the new bylaw that would allow for certain circumstances. These are designed to prevent landlords from neglecting maintenance.

ALSO READ: Ladysmith Council moves forward with renoviction bylaws

“There are two areas in the bylaw that would allow landlords, or property owners, an exemption if they had to bring their units into compliance with building codes or the bylaw,” said Jake Belobaba, the town’s manager of development services.

Six out of the seven members of council voted in favour of the new bylaw, with Johnson opposed.

Council also adopted a new affordable housing reserve bylaw, which will allow the town to establish a reserve fund to support affordable housing in Ladysmith. Funds collected in the reserve can be used strictly for costs related to affordable housing projects. The bylaw was passed unanimously.

The final bylaw discussed at the Dec. 21 council meeting was to amend the Ticket Information Utilization Bylaw to include new penalties for property owners who are in contravention of the new renoviction bylaw.

Coun. Tricia McKay asked staff if there was anything in the new proposal that would trigger inspections. According to Belobaba, the inspections or investigations would be triggered by complaints, similar to other bylaws. This bylaw also passed unanimously.

ALSO READ: Ladysmith residents facing renoviction concerned over zero per cent vacancy



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