Rental-Only Zoning in Richmond

  6 June 2019

A number of co-ops in the City of Richmond received correspondence outlining a proposal to consider rental-only zoning in Richmond. Some housing co-ops would be affected by this measure if it were implemented. The City has offered a Public Open House on June 6 (from 4 pm to 8 pm). This represents an opportunity for co-ops to learn more directly from the City.

CHF BC and BCNPHA are still examining the consequences of the kinds of measure Richmond is considering, and rental-only zoning more generally. This is something relatively new.

Potentially, there may be some benefits:

  • it may protect some existing private-market rental buildings (at least in the short term)
  • it may reduce the value of the properties. This could have the side effect of reducing property taxes and operational costs for non-profits. But zoning for rental alone doesn’t mandate non-market rental – so the value reduction would be difficult to predict

Potentially, there may also be some negative consequences:

  • it may make redevelopment more complicated and delay the creation of higher-density/more efficient buildings
  • it may reduce the value of co-op properties. This could have the side effect of making borrowing a riskier prospect for private lenders—complicating refinancing and building repairs—or restricting non-profits from selling off part of their lands to fund redevelopment or repairs)

It will take some time before there’s significant practical experience with these kinds of measures. In the meantime, co-ops are encouraged to participate in the Public Meeting sessions and the broader consultation process that extends over the next days.

Update: the public consultation process closed on June 17.