Moratorium won’t stop 700 apartments from turning to condos

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Despite low apartment vacancy rate, city’s already given ‘draft approval’ to 683 units

By Kelly Bennett

Almost 700 apartment units will be able to escape a city moratorium on condo conversions that is meant to protect rental housing availability.

The two year ban on conversions came into effect recently because the apartment vacancy rate for two-bedroom units dipped below 2 per cent in 2014. But that moratorium doesn’t cover conversions already approved by the city. There are 683 units already approved that won’t be subject to the ban.

A leading city poverty advocate says that exemption will be a huge blow to the intent of the moratorium and hurt affordable housing.

City policy stipulates the vacancy rate has to be higher than 2 percent when an apartment is converted to a for-sale condo, and must still be above 2 per cent after the conversion. A healthy rental market has between 2 and 3 per cent of its apartments sitting vacant. 

The most recent data show that only 1.6 per cent of the two-bedroom apartments in the city of Hamilton were vacant last year. So any conversions of buildings that have many two-bedroom units will “not be permitted for 2015and the next 24 months,” according to city housing services staff.

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Article and image source: CBC Hamilton

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