With less than a 1% vacancy rate and as Richmond continues to fine tune its housing policies, the city is considering a market rental policy, which is expected to be approved this week.
This new policy would ensure that not just low income or social housing units need to be protected but that the supply of rental units needs to increase. So while the city's previously approved affordable housing strategy responded to below market rental housing, this new policy would address housing that is rented out at market rates.
Approximately 82% of renter households (about 15,500 households) find accommodation in the secondary rental market, which includes condominiums, single family homes, secondary suites, coach houses and subsidized rental housing.
The new policy will include encouraging building owners to keep units in good repair and creating incentives for market rental housing developments such as density bonuses, decreased parking requirements and fast tracking permits.
Another key point was to ensure that there would be more family sized units created - units with 2 or more bedrooms, particularly because 40% of Richmond's renters are families with children.
The policy will also encourage housing units that rent at market rates for tenants, with no restrictions on income levels. and also seek to encourage developers and investors to build new market rental units.