Five BOLD steps we’ve taken on housing in 2023

There’s no way around it: housing is for people to live in, and right now British Columbians need housing.

For 16 years, the BC Liberals (now the BCUP) prioritized their speculator friends, and the cost of housing went up and up. And up. Our government has been working hard to tackle the housing crisis since 2017 and in 2023 we took our BOLDEST action yet.

Here are the top five steps we’ve taken on housing this year:

1. Regulating short-term rentals to turn them into homes for people

Investors with multiple properties take homes off the market and turn them into things like Airbnbs and VRBOs, reducing the amount of rental housing available for BC families. Short term rentals make tight housing markets even more challenging, and the number of those short-term rentals has ballooned in recent years, removing thousands of homes from the market.

That’s why Premier David Eby and our BC NDP team took action to turn those vacation rentals into long-term homes for people. New legislation was designed to target communities and areas with high housing needs. This will create more housing for people who live in BC.

Of course, BCUP leader Kevin Falcon was opposed to this important change and voted against it.

2. Making it easier for cities to build more homes near transit

For people who live in cities, it shouldn’t be hard to get around. Our government’s new legislation makes it easier to build more homes, faster, around transit, services, and amenities that people rely on.

By making areas around transit hubs denser, we’re creating more liveable communities and tackling the housing crisis. The plan is to deliver thousands of units near transit over the next 10-15 years and turn these areas into thriving communities.

3. Updating zoning rules to allow for more townhouses, duplexes and triplexes

British Columbians need housing options, and a single-family home with a yard isn’t right for everyone. So why are most cities still built around them?

“Anyone looking for a place to live in a community they love knows how hard it is – and outdated zoning rules are making that even harder. Constructing mostly high-rise condo towers or single-family homes means BC isn’t building enough small-scale multi-unit homes that fit into existing neighbourhoods and give people more housing options that are within reach. That’s why we’re taking action to fix zoning problems and deliver more homes for people, faster.” - Premier David Eby

Our BC NDP government’s new legislation makes it easier and faster to build townhomes, triplexes and laneway homes. Under the new legislation people will be allowed to build one secondary suite or one laneway home and three to four unit homes will be allowed on lots currently zoned for single family or duplex use, depending on the lot size. So many options!

4. Helping renters with costs and security

In BC, one-third of all households rent. That’s why our government has stepped up to help and protect renters. Next year, rental increases are capped up at 3.5 percent, well below the rate of inflation, to support the many British Columbians who rent their homes.

Our government also introduced a renter’s tax credit for low and moderate income renters to help with costs. Claim it on your 2023 tax return in the spring!

We urgently need more options from within the existing homes available too — that’s why our government removed age and rental restrictions from stratas, except in buildings that are designed from those 55 and older. This created more options for people.

On top of that, homeowners who want to do their part and help with the housing crisis will be able to apply for loans to build and rent secondary suites – one of the fastest ways we can add new rental housing supply. Starting in early 2024, homeowners can access a forgivable loan if they build and rent a secondary unit at below market rates for a minimum of five years.

5. Expanding the speculation and vacancy tax to create more homes

When the speculation and vacancy tax was first introduced, it turned nearly 20,000 empty properties in Metro Vancouver into homes for people.

This year we expanded this tax to 13 more communities.

While the BCUP would rather cancel the speculation tax and help out speculators by turning homes back into empty condos, we know that British Columbians can’t afford that.

Looking ahead to 2024 — an election year

We know there’s more to do to create safe and affordable housing for people — and we’re focused on doing just that. Look for even more action from Premier David Eby and our BC NDP team in 2024!

Want to stay connected to the work we’re doing on housing and more for people in BC? Join our movement by adding your name below.