New housing for Montrealers
To ensure a Montreal that is accessible to all, our team has worked on an ambitious, yet pragmatic plan to bring 50,000 new homes to our city in 4 years. Through various means and in collaboration with the housing community, we aim to develop 10,000 social housing units, 6,000 family housing units, 2,000 student housing units and 6,000 affordable housing units.
The best thing the City of Montreal can do, and which falls directly under municipal jurisdiction, is to densify the territory and, at the same time, to fight urban sprawl.
Densification is linked to our ambition to make Montreal more livable and more affordable for everyone. We must therefore see intelligent densification as the cornerstone of the city of tomorrow. Densification must respect the built heritage of each sector and not allow new buildings to exceed the height of Mount Royal.
In order to meet the social (housing crisis), economic (vitality of our businesses and presence of qualified labour) and environmental (fight against climate change and urban sprawl) challenges, we have a responsibility to densify Montreal intelligently.
This “Operation 50,000 new housing units” is made possible by the implementation of several strategies grouped in five areas: Develop, Finance, Unlock and Protect.
To stem the housing crisis, we must quickly flood the market with new housing units. To do this, we must innovate, because what is currently being done is clearly not enough. This is why the Coderre-Gelly administration intends to :
- Take underutilized land owned by the City of Montreal and the Quebec government to build new social, affordable, family and student housing. Through this strategy, the City’s land assets will be leveraged to develop a potential 15,000 new housing units, including a minimum of 30% social, student and family housing;
- Collaborate to establish a uniform inclusionary policy for social housing throughout the cities of the metropolitan community in order to progressively achieve a 15% social housing requirement for major projects throughout the MMC;
- Create a density bonus in the City of Montreal’s Urban Plan to encourage the inclusion of social, family and student housing in private residential projects;
- Restore the SHDM’s development vocation, notably to develop more affordable housing through the Accès Condo program, as well as to increase its capacity to maintain its real estate stock;
- Initiate a discussion with the federal government on the use of its land on the territory of the island of Montreal in order to evaluate new vocations such as, for example, the unbuilt land of the Longue-Pointe military base for housing purposes;
Social housing projects are slow to get off the ground. Too many projects are stuck for several years. To correct this inefficient system, our team is proposing solutions and will work to:
- Create a “Montreal Impact Investment Fund for Social and Community Housing”. This fund, which should be $25 million in the first year and $100 million in the fourth year, will receive contributions from institutional investors and capital from the City of Montreal;
- Use property taxation on serviced vacant lots to counter speculation and stimulate the development of new housing units, while raising new capital for housing;
- Reforming the Homebuyer Assistance Program and increasing its funding to create affordable housing;
- Introduce a new regulation on housing for all within the first year of our mandate;
- Requiring 15% social housing in new residential projects of 25 units or more according to different criteria and geographical areas;
More than ever, Montreal needs a lot of new housing. To stimulate residential construction in our great city, we propose to:
- Accelerate and simplify the building and renovation permit process and introduce performance indicators into the City’s administrative processes;
- Facilitate conversions to residential for aging and less occupied downtown office towers. To stimulate these conversions, we propose to create an “office of accompaniment and expertise” to educate and accompany owners in these transitions. We are also considering granting the residential rate of the property tax as soon as the renovation permit is obtained;
- Develop medium to high-density real estate around metro and REM stations (TOD) in order to increase density in areas that are easily accessible by public and active transportation;
- Encourage owners of duplexes or triplexes (typically two to three floors) to add one or two floors to their own building, in accordance with the specific urban plans of the various boroughs, to offer more living space and encourage the retention of young families. A dedicated support group will be created to assist citizens in these complex projects. A property value tax vacation, in the form of a grant, for example, could also be offered for the first three years;
- Increase property taxes on surface parking lots and vacant land to limit property speculation and encourage residential development;
- Eliminate the occupancy fee for the construction of projects that include social and affordable housing.
It is not enough to simply improve the residential offer. It is also necessary to put in place mechanisms that regulate market excesses, ensure the sustainability of the rental stock and access to housing for all Montrealers. This is why we propose to :
- Create a registry of residential leases;
- Create a housing bank for families who find themselves without housing on July 1st;
- Increase funding for the City’s renovation programs to accelerate the revitalization of the housing stock;
- Implementing a plan to address substandard housing:
- Requiring commercial landlords to conduct an independent inspection of their units that are more than 20 years old every five years. The reports, produced by City-accredited providers, should be forwarded to the City. The first inspection must be completed within two years of the adoption of the by-law;
- Implementing an annual increasing substandard housing tax;
- Implement a subsidy for the renovation of substandard housing equivalent to the increase in the property tax for one year;
- Reduce by half the time required to manage substandard housing;
- Drastically increase the number of fines for substandard cases;
- Increase the number of inspectors and inspections while creating a preventive inspection program in each borough;
- Maintaining the height of Mount Royal as a limit on the height of new buildings;
- Mandating the Commission sur les finances et l’administration to study a tax on vacant units, similar to Vancouver’s “Empty Home Tax”, to reduce artificial vacancy in the housing stock;
- Obtaining a change in the law to increase the minimum notice period to notify a tenant before a major renovation from 180 to 365 days.
- Reform the affordable housing program under the principles of buyer control and sustainability by taking the value of the sale in a progressive manner (e.g. 95% for a newly renovated unit in the first year, 90% in the second year, 75% in the third year, 50% in the fourth year and 0% in the fifth year, with the money going back to develop social and affordable housing).