B.C. plans $500M fund to keep older rental buildings with non-profits, not developers

B.C. Premier David Eby is pictured during a news conference regarding housing in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)
B.C. Premier David Eby is pictured during a news conference regarding housing in Burnaby, B.C., on Thursday. (Ben Nelms/CBC - image credit)

The provincial government has announced plans to create a $500-million fund that will enable non-profits to buy older rental buildings in B.C., rather than allowing those buildings to be sold to developers.

The announcement Thursday was billed as a move to help protect tenants from rising rents across the province.

"We're taking action to protect renters who found an affordable place to live, but are worried their building will be bought out from underneath them," read a statement from Premier David Eby.

The Rental Protection Fund will give non-profit housing organizations one-time grant so they can buy affordable rental buildings. The non-profit could then "work with tenants to make improvements or expand to house more people, and at the same time protect affordable housing."

The strategy, the statement said, is to keep buildings away from speculators, developers and large corporations.

"Their business model often includes redeveloping properties so they can evict tenants, allowing the trusts to make
large profits by either hiking rents or selling the units and taking much needed rental housing off the market," read the province's statement.

The province said the fund will be operational "in the coming months" and financed by March 31.