Calgary’s Major Nenshi says he’s taking another swing at a bylaw intended to encourage more property owners to rent out secondary suites.
During a recent radio interview, the Mayor outlined his strategy for dealing with the shortage of affordable rental housing in the city, which is experiencing the lowest vacancy rate in nearly 10 years.
The Mayor plans a three-pronged approach to increase the stock of affordable rental homes, which includes increasing secondary suites, encouraging housing options provided by non-profits, and looking at government aid for those residents who the Mayor says are the most difficult to house.
The plan to increase the number of registered secondary suites — apartments found in existing homes, typically in basements — has met with considerable resistance since the Mayor first proposed the idea. But this time, he says he thinks he can get it done.
When asked the question, “What has changed?”, Mayor Nenshi, relying on a football analogy, explained that, before, he was “going for a touchdown”, which he said was too much to ask for. Now, his strategy is to use a few “first downs” to “move the ball down the field.”
The Mayor’s plan for a secondary suite bylaw, which he hopes to introduce at the next one or two City Council meetings, will create a regulatory scheme that will stress safety in the individual units. He estimates there are as many as 50,000 illegal secondary suites currently operating throughout the city.
Long-term plans also include pushing for federal tax credits to encourage the construction of new apartments.
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