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Rental Protection Fund helps save 290 housing units in Coquitlam

February 8, 2024 at 9:15 am  BC, News, Politics, Provincial

Homes in two housing co-operatives in Coquitlam will be protected with the first acquisition from the Province’s Rental Protection Fund. 

“Far too many renters live in fear that their homes will be sold out from under them,” said Premier David Eby. “That’s why we created the Rental Protection Fund to defend people’s homes against profit-seeking speculators like big real estate investment corporations, and preserve safe, secure and affordable homes for generations to come. This landmark acquisition protects 290 affordable homes in the heart of Coquitlam, ensuring people can continue living in the community they helped build.”

The Rental Protection Fund is contributing as much as $71 million toward the Community Land Trust of B.C. that will leverage a total of $125 million to buy two housing co-operatives in Coquitlam:

  • the Tri-Branch Co-op, made up of 169 homes at 2860 Packard Ave.; and
  • the Garden Court Co-op, made up of 121 homes at 2865 Packard Ave.

“In the midst of a housing crisis, it is critical to preserve these affordable homes for the seniors, families and individuals who have made these co-ops their community,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “The Rental Protection Fund is part of our Homes for People plan that addresses the housing crisis through strong action by preserving affordable housing where it already exists and by delivering more homes within reach for people.”

The land trust will own the properties and the co-ops will continue to be self-managed by their respective member boards. The funding from the Rental Protection Fund will support the land purchase and necessary building upgrades.

“The residents of Tri-Branch and Garden Court Co-ops can now have peace of mind that the homes they have lived in for many years in the community they know, are secure for them and their families for the future, thanks to the Rental Protection Fund,” said Fin Donnelly, MLA for Coquitlam-Burke Mountain. “The purchase of these co-ops secures housing for the people living here and relieves the housing market by keeping 290 units in the rental supply stock here in Coquitlam.”

The land trust assessed members’ incomes and set new housing charges at no more than 30% of people’s incomes. This ensures members can continue to afford their housing charges, while ensuring the co-op can cover its operational and maintenance expenses.

“The impact of the Rental Protection Fund can already be seen and felt – and these are just the first of thousands of homes that will grow our community housing sector, while freeing up capital that can be redeployed into new supply,” said Katie Maslechko, CEO of the Rental Protection Fund. “This is a transformative model to address the housing crisis that is already delivering results – enacting real change both quickly and effectively by preserving attainable housing for those at risk of losing their housing security.”

The Tri-Branch and Garden Court co-ops were created in 1981 with a 41-year land lease that expired in October 2022. After the lease expired, the co-ops were in lease-payment arrears and had incurred debt, putting the co-ops’ future at risk.

“Community Land Trust is proud to celebrate this milestone achievement, enabling us to save and preserve 290 co-op homes in Coquitlam,” said Tiffany Duzita, executive director, Community Land Trust. “The investment made by the Rental Protection Fund and the City of Coquitlam makes it possible for us to protect these homes and the affordability they provide to their members today and in the future.”

The $500-million Rental Protection Fund provides one-time capital grants to non-profit housing organizations so they can buy affordable residential rental buildings and co-operatives listed for sale. This protects the people who are living there and safeguarding the units for the long term.

“The sites on Packard Avenue have provided affordable co-operative housing for more than 40 years, and today’s funding announcement means that 290 households who love their home will be able to stay in our community,” said Richard Stewart, mayor of Coquitlam. “The city is proud to have contributed $5.8 million to ensure that this important non-market housing is protected and preserved in Coquitlam.”

The Rental Protection Fund has approved funding to preserve nearly 700 homes throughout the Province that will be announced in the coming months, with thousands of additional homes under funding consideration.

Quotes:

Jill Atkey, CEO, BC Non-Profit Housing Association, Rental Protection Fund board member –

“We are absolutely thrilled to see a vision become reality by securing the affordability of 290 homes. Because the assets will now be held by the community, affordability today means affordability forever. We look forward to many similar announcements of non-profit acquisitions in the coming months and years.”

Margaret Pfoh, CEO, Aboriginal Housing Management Association, Rental Protection Fund board member –

“The Rental Protection Fund model is envied across Canada as an innovative program that protects precious affordable rental stock from being privately purchased and converted into units that most of the population can’t afford to live in. Housing is the foundation of well-being, and we are thankful that B.C. has taken the bold step of establishing this fund with Indigenous inclusion at the table.”

Mary Raffan, president, Garden Court Housing Co-op –

“Our tenacious co-op board has worked tirelessly for the past decade on a solution to save our housing co-op. Today, we can finally have peace, knowing our homes are safe and secure for years to come.”

Jewels Cressman, president, Tri-Branch Housing Co-op –

“Today, we celebrate the end of a very long period of fear and uncertainty among our members about having a place to call home. Our hearts are overflowing with gratitude for the tireless efforts of all those involved in the collaborative effort that enabled Community Land Trust to purchase the two properties and save our homes.”

Brian Cochrane, business manager, International Union of Operating Engineers Local 115 –

“We are happy to see the sale of Garden Court and Tri-Branch. This transaction meets the needs of our pension plan, but more importantly is a great example of the impact our union has made working alongside government and non-profits to preserve affordable housing and enrich the communities we live and work in.”

Quick Facts:

  • The buildings are being purchased together for $125 million, including renewal and acquisition costs, and will be owned by the Community Land Trust of B.C.
  • The Rental Protection Fund has committed an equity contribution of as much as $224,000 per home, or as much as $64.9 million, to protect the homes and preserve the co-op tenure. 
  • A $6.5-million renewal grant from the Rental Protection Fund and $2.9-million forgivable loan from Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation will support building renewal costs.
  • Because the Community Land Trust B.C. is a non-profit charity, the Province is able to waive the $4.2 million in property transfer taxes.
  • The Community Land Trust and co-ops are contributing $3.4 million in equity.

Learn More:

For information about the Rental Protection Fund, visit: https://rentalprotectionfund.ca

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