Rental Housing Demolition and Conversion Bylaw
Effective July 19, 2007, there are new forms for the Rental Housing Demolition and Conversion Control By-law:
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In addition to the City's Official Plan Housing policies (Section 3.2.1), the passing of Bylaw 885-2007 under Section 111 of the City of Toronto Act, 2006, adopted by City Council at its meeting of July 16 - 19, 2007, gives the City of Toronto enhanced authority to protect rental housing from demolition and conversion to non-rental purposes (e.g. condominium, offices, or other non-rental uses).
Rental buildings that were subject to conversion to condominium
|The Residential Rental Property Demolition and Conversion Control bylaw protects rental housing from demolition or conversion. The bylaw takes its policy direction from the City's Official Plan and is a tool to implement these policies.
Generally, the policies and the bylaw apply to properties containing 6 or more rental units. In some cases, approval of demolition of private rental or social housing may occur if certain conditions are met.
Bylaw 885-2007 allows the City to protect more rental properties, including those that are not the subject of planning approvals but are subject to the City's Official Plan policies. For example, the bylaw applies to proposed demolition of rental properties that do not require planning approvals. It also applies to demolition activities such as interior renovations that remove some rental units, or change the number and type of rental units in a building. The bylaw applies to proposed conversion of rental housing to co-ownership, a process for which the City did not previously have explicit authority to regulate.
However, the bylaw will not apply to condominium-registered buildings, even if they contain rental units, or life-lease properties.
The bylaw makes it an offence to demolish or convert rental housing to non-rental purposes without a permit issued by the City under a new Chapter 667 of the Municipal Code. There is a separate application required for this permit, which the City may decide to refuse or approve with conditions.
For more background, read the staff report which recommended that City Council implement its housing protection authority through the bylaw. Bylaw 885-2007 as adopted by Council is available.
Vibrant and healthy communities are essential to the life of the city, and a full range of housing that meets the needs of current and future residents is at the heart of planning. The City's quality of life, economic competitiveness, social cohesion, as well as its balance and diversity depend on it.
A diverse housing market attracts residents and businesses, and includes rental as well as ownership housing, affordable and market housing, housing for those with special needs and emergency housing.
Toronto's supply of housing is very diverse, with renters and owners each comprising about half of the City's households. However, there are significant gaps in the supply of particular kinds of housing. There has been very little increase in the supply of rental housing and affordable housing over the last decade; homeowners have enjoyed the benefits of the strong growth in housing construction in recent years. The City also needs more supportive housing and additional resources for effective housing solutions that respond to homelessness. These unmet needs are the focus of the City's planning policies and housing programs.
Key facts on rental housing
Read more in the City's 2006 Rental Housing Profile
Over the last decade the supply of rental housing units has not increased, in contrast to the early 1990's when the supply of rental housing increased significantly - due mostly to increased construction of social housing.
Over the last 30 years the tenure split has been about 50 per cent renters and 50 per cent owners.
Since 1996, 95 per cent of all new housing built in Toronto has been ownership, while only 5 per cent was rental - but the City lost more rental units through demolition and conversion than were being newly built.
Projected increase of an additional 93 000 renter households by 2031 - new rental supply will be needed.
Primary rental housing (both private and social housing) comprises 75 per cent of all rental housing in the City.
Secondary rental housing such as rented houses, second suites in a house, or condominium rental units make up the remaining 25 per cent.
Condominium rental units comprise only 5 per cent of all rental housing, and there were fewer of these units in 2005 than there were in 1996.
Renters have more significant affordability problems than owners; 21 per cent of renters (almost 100 000 households) pay 50 per cent or more of their income on shelter, while only 9 per cent of owners are in this category.
Apartment rents in Toronto have risen about 1½ times faster than inflation since 1990; generally affordability for renters has eroded since the late 1980's.
Rental vacancy rates have been in the moderate range for the last 4 years (3.3 per cent to 4.3 per cent), but they have been declining for the last two years. For the previous 30 years, vacancy rates were persistently low, often below 1 per cent.
How Toronto protects rental housing
The City cannot afford to lose its existing Primary rental housing (private rental and social housing) if it is to meet the rental demand created by population growth. Toronto has strong policies to protect existing rental housing, especially important in the current context in which there has been no net increase in the supply of rental housing over the last decade.
Components of Rental Universe - Primary and Secondary Rental Units, Toronto 2001
The City's Official Plan policies protect rental housing properties with 6 or more rental units from demolition, severance or conversion to condominium. An exception is made where all the rental units have rents in the high-end as defined by the City. In the case of redevelopment applications involving demolition, the policies provide that the City may approve demolition on condition that the rental units are replaced, tenants receive assistance with relocation and the right to return to the rebuilt housing. The policies were adopted by City Council in 2002, appealed to the Ontario Municipal Board, and were further modified by City Council in December 2005. These rental protection policies were approved by the OMB in October, 2006.
New provincial legislation, the City of Toronto Act, provides the City with additional authority to refuse applications to demolish rental housing or to convert it to non-rental purposes, or if approved, to apply conditions. The City of Toronto Act was proclaimed in January 2007. The new authority applies not only to applications made under the Planning Act, but also to those applying solely for a demolition or building permit.
Our track record
Toronto has had a consistent framework of policies and practices protecting rental housing for many years. Former Official Plan policies, and the provincial Rental Housing Protection Act (1986 - 1998) were applied to proposals affecting existing rental housing. The City acted to protect rental housing when applications were made to demolish or convert existing rental buildings to condominium or freehold ownership.
In 2005, the government introduced the City of Toronto Act, which among other new powers, does provide that additional authority to the City. In 2006, the government also introduced a new bill to amend the Municipal Act, which provides the same authority to protect rental housing to all municipalities in the province.
Low rise rental buildings that were demolished and are being replaced with rental townhouses on the same site in the Etobicoke area.
Toronto housing websites: