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Maple Ridge councillor wants to promote rent-to-own programs

Yousef says government should support people in buying apartments, townhomes
Coun. Ahmed Yousef will bring a motion regarding rent-to-own housing before city council. (The News files)

A Maple Ridge councillor wants his city to start promoting rent-to-own housing programs as a way for people to get involved in the housing market.

Coun. Ahmed Yousef has served notice that he will be bringing the motion before council in two weeks time for consideration.

The motion reads:

“With the currently prohibitive housing costs and the high rate of inflation, first-time home buyers are severely disadvantaged;

“Recognizing the need to provide creative solutions to the housing crisis facing our residents and continue to grow our local economy;

“Therefore, to ensure the proper policy framework is in place, be it resolved that council direct staff to review the housing policy and bring forward amendments to allow a rent-to-own scheme focusing primarily on townhouses and apartments in the City of Maple Ridge.”

READ ALSO: Maple Ridge leaders need to do more about housing

After the meeting, Yousef explained that both Vancouver and Port Moody are among the cities that offer residents a way into the housing market through rent-to-own schemes.

He would like Maple Ridge to start by ensuring that city policies do not prohibit or impede these financing arrangements.

“So that we’re not standing in the way, if developers want to do rent-to-own programs,” he explained.

He would also like the city to write senior government lobbying for low-interest financing for rent-to-own programs, so property developers are encouraged and have incentives.

“If we get the government to really focus on this, it’ll go a long way to getting people into the housing market,” said Yousef.

So far, he said consumers have given him positive feedback on the idea. Yousef got it from council workshop discussions about housing, and conversations with the planning department about difficulties that rental property owners face when they try to sell units in their buildings after years of leasing them.

In 2019, a Port Moody developer built a condo development with 358 units near Rocky Point, and made 30 of the units available for rent-to-own. In that plan, people pay rent for two years and all of that money will be converted into equity toward a down payment.

They had so much interest in 50 Electronic Avenue that the developers, the Panatch Group, had to hold a random draw to choose 30 families.

It’s the type of opportunity Yousef wants to see afforded to Maple Ridge residents.

“So that someday they can have a home to call their own.”

READ ALSO: Moving into Maple Ridge’s newest government-funded rental housing begins

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Neil Corbett

About the Author: Neil Corbett

I have been a journalist for more than 30 years, the past decade with the Maple Ridge-Pitt Meadows News.
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