Kitchener rental replacement bylaw passes committee

It’s a win for rental protection in the City of Kitchener.

City councillors at the committee level on Monday night passed a new rental replacement bylaw. It is the first in Waterloo Region and the fourth in the province, with similar bylaws passed in Mississauga, Toronto and Oakville.

It would require landowners who want to demolish six or more rental units to provide compensation or alternative housing to tenants.

Three options are available for compensation: A temporary offsite 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.

Lucas Van Meer-Mass, a senior planner with the City of Kitchener, said the bylaw would play a key part in the vision that the city is for everyone, and in striking a balance between development and protecting renters that face “renovictions.”

“At its essence, this bylaw is about balance,” said Meer-Mass. “It’s about advancing two intertwined policy objectives, creating a planning regime where development and large-scale intensification remains viable. The city has worked hard over the last few years to achieve a nimble and adaptable planning regime to that end.

Last night’s committee meeting saw at least 12 delegates and members of staff and council asking questions on the new bylaw. One delegate, Sean McKinnon, said a bylaw like this would alleviate stress of those who would lose their homes.

“We’ve got people, including myself, who are probably looking at leaving the city if our homes are torn down and there isn’t a bylaw here to protect us,” he said. “You’re going to be driving more and more people out of the city; you will be making the city less affordable.”

Councillors also passed a motion asking staff to come back in June 2025 to provide an update on the impact.

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