The first major motion has passed Vancouver City Council – unanimously!


A unanimous vote on an ideological issue is a significant indicator – and Jean Swanson’s motion on renter protection was the first big test for the new council.  The way amendments and process were so skillfully handled among the various parties and interests suggests effective communication and negotiation.  (How much of that, I wonder, was done by the Mayor’s office?)

I would not underestimate the emotional impact of the more than 50 delegations organized effectively by the year-old Vancouver Tenants Union who, hour after hour, over two days, told personal stories of their experiences and anxieties.  Regardless of where any individual councillor stands politically, the emotional effect is substantial.  It wears away intellectual resistance, leaving the need to respond in some way.

Jean Swanson called the amended motion mush.  But the Tenants Union, having achieved a recognition of legitimacy, recognized it as a victory, regardless of the fact that not much actual protection is afforded those subject to a determined renovictor.

In the end, the NPA aligned itself with a vote on an issue coming from the far left; the amendments they supported came from the parties of the near left.  The result is a solid wall of political support for intervention in the rental housing market – another indicator of how much this election has changed the status quo.

What will property and development interests do in the face of this? Watch Jon Stovell and Berkeley Tower.


  1. Good for those in older apartment buildings at below market rents in good locations but not good for those seeking rentals as many won’t be renovated now, upgraded or modernized.

    It may even cause demolitions to accelerate ie faster destruction of older rental stock.

    Many unintended consequences. One is lower prices for these buildings as some firms, such as HQ Commercial slash prices of Vancouver rental buildings

    HQ Commercial has eight rental apartment buildings for sale in Metro Vancouver, and the prices for three of them have been slashed by more than $750,000 in the past four weeks. The price drops reflect a cooling in what has been a white-hot multi-family market as investors fear tougher rent control regulations from the province and higher lending rates from the Bank of Canada, according to HQ Commercial’s Cynthia Jagger.

    1. Slashing prices? Good!
      Like so much other real estate in Vancouver the price for rental buildings has been driven up by capital flowing in from offshore, and some of these new owners don’t seem to be well-informed on Canadian laws. It is time the Foreign Buyers Tax was extended to rental building purchases as well.

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