Protecting Tenants and Ensuring Long-term Housing Affordability: Lessons for the Federal Government

(January 16, 2023) – Last Thursday, BC Premier David Eby announced The Rental Protection Fund, a $500 million provincial rental property acquisition program to help non-profit housing providers protect tenants and preserve long-term affordability.

Increasingly across Canada, rental housing buildings are being purchased by speculators and large corporations. This often leads to properties being redeveloped to maximize profits from increased rental rates or the removal of affordable housing stock, resulting in tenant evictions. An acquisition program like the Rental Protection Fund empowers non-profits to stem the increasing erosion of affordable rental housing stock we have seen over recent years.

BC’s newly developed Rental Protection Fund will allow non-profits to purchase and manage residential buildings to permanently ensure their affordability, supporting the protection of thousands of affordable housing units across the province.

CHRA congratulates the Aboriginal Housing Management Association (AHMA), BC Non-Profit Housing Association (BCNPHA), and the Co-operative Housing Federation of BC (CHF BC) for their leadership in creating this program. The Fund will be jointly managed and distributed through a non-profit society created by AHMA, BCNPHA, CHF BC.In this era of skyrocketing housing costs, ensuring the long-term affordability of existing housing is just as important as creating new units. That is why CHRA has consistently advocated for a federal rental property acquisition program that will protect tenants and preserve long-term affordability across Canada.

Acquisition is currently not eligible for funding or financing under current National Housing Strategy (NHS) programs, yet it is recognized as a key federal housing policy gap from organizations in the community housing sector and beyond. The Canadian Housing Policy Roundtable (CHPR) calculates that from 2010-2020, an estimated 60,000 affordable units (with monthly rents below $750, affordable to annual incomes under $30,000) were lost every year, while the NHS aims to create an average of 16,000 affordable units annually.

This means that for every one unit of affordable housing created through the NHS, four are lost.

A property acquisition program like BC’s Tenant Protection Fund is key to ensuring the goal of the National Housing Strategy: that everyone in Canada has a home they can afford and that meets their needs. Once again, CHRA calls on the Government of Canada to create a federal property acquisition program that will support non-profits to ensure access to housing that will remain permanently affordable.

“Community housing providers are building great new affordable housing, but we’re actually falling behind because we are losing affordable housing in the private market. Supporting non-profits and co-ops to buy existing rental housing will protect tenants and increase the supply of affordable housing,” said Ray Sullivan, Interim Executive Director of CHRA

For more information, contact:

Ray Sullivan, Interim Executive Director
C: 613-294-9840