Kitchener councillors looking at possible rental replacement bylaw

Renter protection will be a big item of discussion at a Kitchener committee meeting as councillors debate a possible rental replacement bylaw.

The proposed bylaw would require landowners who want to demolish six or more rental units to provide alternative housing or compensation to tenants. The provision would also be required in all new developments.

The compensation can come in the form of a temporary replacement unit, a rent waiver for 12 months or a cash payout of 10 months worth of rent and an agreement to leave within two months.

Ward 5 councillor Ayo Owodunni said he hopes a balance can be struck that will help those who are vulnerable in the community, but also does not chase away developers.

“For me, that is the hard balance that I struggle with, where is the balance between the two,” said Owodunni. “How do you ensure your developers are taken care of so they can build more? But on the other hand, I also want to make sure these individuals are protected in our communities.”

The bylaw is similar to those imposed in Mississauga, Toronto and Oakville.

A report to councillors reads “existing rental housing is the most affordable form of market housing and makes up 55 percent of the city’s rental housing stock.”

It also notes that the City of Kitchener has approximately 21,400 primary rental units with 20,500 being eligible for rental replacement.

Councillors will meet for the Planning and Strategic Initiatives Committee starting at 6 p.m.

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