B.C. Liberal Party unveils new rent-to-own housing scheme

The British Columbia Liberal Party is introducing a new rent-to-own housing scheme, which aims to gradually move 50,000 households out of renting and into homeownership, the Lieutenant Government announced at the Throne Speech from the legislature in Victoria last Thursday.

The BC Liberal Party lost key seats in Vancouver following accusations by the opposition, Canada’s New Democrats (NDP), that they weren’t focusing enough on affordable homeownership or rental. This new move appears to be the latest of the party’s eleventh-hour policies, as it attempts to cling to its current minority government and win the confidence of the House.   

The party’s new rent-to-own program would see 50,000 new homes built over the next decade. The homes would be rented to residents in the first instance, but part of their rents would be siphoned off by the government into an account so that they could gradually build up a down payment.

“Housing affordability remains a particular concern… and we must ensure middle-class families are not pushed out of urban markets… With the confidence of this House, your government will work with local governments and the private sector to increase the supply of family and starter housing for middle-income earners, especially along new transit lines and corridors,” said the Judith Guichon, Lieutenant Governor of British Columbia.

“With the confidence of this house … your government will work with municipalities to remove obstacles and eliminate backlogs to speed up the construction of new housing supply, especially for families.”

Guichon added that the Liberals planned to close rental loopholes on fixed-term leases and renovictions (the NDP scored points in the election by promising reforms in these areas).

An affordable housing summit would be convened this fall to address the issue of real estate speculation and other concerns. 

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