Burnaby lawyer and former councillor Lee Rankin calls for moratorium on evictions from basement suites

Lee Rankin

BURNABY lawyer and former city councillor Lee Rankin has called for a moratorium on evictions from basement suites in Burnaby unless there was an obvious fire or safety hazard.

“We shouldn’t be evicting people from suites or asking owners to fill their basements with sand in the middle of a housing crisis,” said Rankin. Rankin called for a liberalization of zoning requirements to allow more basement suites in Burnaby.

Rankin, who served 22 years and eight terms on Burnaby council, said there was an urgent need for affordable housing solutions in the city.
“Secondary suites provide housing for students, seniors, single workers and single parents who can’t afford hard-to-find and higher cost rental housing in the city,” said Rankin.
Rankin also called for zoning changes to increase the number of duplexes built in Burnaby. “Burnaby needs to relax the lot width necessary for building a duplex,” he said. “This change would allow the construction of many more duplex dwellings in Burnaby.”
Rankin said the city needed to identify more transitional areas that could support legal fourplexes and townhouse development to provide less expensive housing. “Young families are being priced out of the Burnaby housing market,” he said. “We need to do better.”
Rankin said the city should move forward with laneway housing, beginning with a public consultation process. “Appropriately located laneway housing is another option that can produce more affordable, modestly-sized housing,” said Rankin. “It’s important that there be a neighbourhood buy-in for the initiative to go forward.”
Rankin, who previously called for a halt to the demolition of rental buildings and eviction of tenants in Metrotown, noted that Burnaby has experienced a net loss of 1,026 primary rental units during the past 16 years, according to Canada Mortgage.
“That’s a seven per cent loss of rental units in 16 years in Burnaby while other communities have increased their rental stock,” said Rankin. “Burnaby needs to do a better job of protecting rental stock.”
Rankin said. said the city should establish the position of tenants’ advocate at city hall.
Burnaby tenants, whether in apartment buildings or basement suites, need a resource person at city hall to help them with their issues like “demovictions” or dealing with basic repairs and maintenance, said Rankin.
“Tenants should not be treated like second-class citizens in Burnaby,” he said.
For further information, contact Lee Rankin at 778 988-9648, 604 683-6777, 604 436-9210 or leerankin@shaw.ca