For Immediate Release: January 17, 2011
The Coalition of Progressive Electors is urging Vancouver City Council to expand the scope of the Online Rental Database that passed today at Council because of far too many gaps that leave out a significant segment of rental housing in Vancouver.
COPE’s Ellen Woodsworth says that leaving out SROs and private secondary suites means the database will be much less effective than it needs to be. “The database would only include purpose built rental buildings, meaning that a vast number of renters would find no information about the quality of their housing options,” said Woodsworth while noting that there are an estimated 25,000 secondary suites in Vancouver and over 17,000 rental condo units.
Woodsworth added that SROs are often the segment of housing in the city that is most in need of oversight. “We have a huge number of SROs that are known to be violating bylaws, are in need of critical repairs, and whose landlords show no sign of coming into compliance. The people of Vancouver need to know about these units and right now this database would leave that out.”
COPE is hoping that staff come back to council and recommend that the database include a register of secondary suites that have valid business licenses so potential renters know whether their units are legal or not, to include SROs, and to work with the Province to include information from the Residential Tenancy Branch.
“As a renter myself, I know that this database is only going to be useful if it’s one place where people can see not only permits and outstanding work orders, but also past problems with landlords themselves,” says Woodsworth.