Règlement pour une métropole mixte
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The City of Montréal is proposing a new by-law, the By-law for a diverse metropolis, to improve the supply of social, affordable and family housing on its territory. In keeping with the Strategy for the inclusion of affordable housing in new residential projects, adopted in 2005, the By-law would require a prior agreement with the City regarding the housing in question in order to obtain a construction permit for any residential project of 450 square metres or more.

The OCPM proposes a few open questions for your consideration on topics related to housing in order to stimulate your thought process on the draft By-law. You may also use the “Other opinions” option to express your thoughts on anything related to housing that is of interest or concern to you.

Before proceeding with the themes, here is the definition of the various types of housing according to the By-law’s interpretation document:

Social housing is housing whose construction is subsidized by a Québec government program (Accès Logis). Managed by a housing cooperative, an NPO or the Société d’habitation de Montréal (SHDM), this type of housing allows approximately half of the households to spend less than 30% of their income on housing, while the other half pay rent that is below the market average.

Affordable housing is private housing that is for sale or rent that meets the needs of middle-income households. Its price is slightly below market price or equal to that of a unit of modest design. The By-law provides price and rent ceilings based on the number of rooms and the area where the project is located.

Family housing has at least three bedrooms. For each project, the family housing units are divided among social housing, affordable housing, and market-price housing. The minimum area for family housing units is 86 square metres for downtown and 96 square metres for other territories.

For additional information concerning the goals and requirements of the By-law, please see the consultation document (Document 3.1, in French only).

Enjoy the thought process!

Housing needs

Montréal neighbourhoods usually comprise a large variety of housing types. However, the real estate market is currently going through a period where a number of factors are contributing to a scarcity of affordable housing.

That scarcity-of-housing phenomenon often piggybacks onto individuals’ and households’ ability to pay. Thus, 155,000 households in Montréal spend 30% or more of their income on housing, and 80,000 spend more than 50% on it. Many households cannot find housing adapted to their needs in the current market.

In view of the above, the City proposes that all new residential housing developments of five units or more contribute to increasing the supply of social, affordable and family housing.

Questions to guide your contribution

  • In your opinion, what are the most pressing needs in terms of housing?
  • In your opinion, what is the appropriate definition of affordable housing?
  • What can be done to help people with a low income or with special housing needs (families, students, seniors, etc.) to find housing that meets their needs and is financially accessible?
  • What means are most likely to motivate the private market to build housing for low-income households?
  • If applicable, what impacts of the scarcity of housing have been felt in your neighbourhood?

Please provide an answer that is as specific and detailed as possible.

Requirements and cost

The City of Montréal hopes that the By-law for a diverse metropolis will help to increase the number of social, affordable and family housing units on its territory. Any residential project subject to the By-law will have to satisfy certain requirements by choosing among a number of options (please see Table 1).

Social housing is the City’s priority in terms of inclusion. The By-law provides that all residential projects of 450 square metres or more must contribute to the development of social housing. Depending on the location and size of the project, the developer may either transfer land, transfer a turnkey social project, or make a financial contribution to the City. In return for transferred land or a transferred project, the City pays a financial consideration to the developer.

In addition to social housing, all residential projects of 50 units or more require the inclusion of affordable and family housing. To make housing affordable, the developer must respect the ceilings on rents and housing prices. For example, the rent for affordable family housing (three or more bedrooms) ranges from $927 in the outskirts of Montréal, to $2000 in inner neighbourhoods and downtown. If the unit is for sale, its price must not exceed $350,000 in the outskirts of Montréal, or $450,000 in inner neighbourhoods and downtown.

For more information regarding the cost of affordable housing, please see Figures 9 and 10 in Document 3.1, page 22.

 

Table 1. Social, affordable and family housing requirements according to the location and number of units of the residential project[1]

[1] By-law for a diverse metropolis – Summary, Doc. 3.1.1, p. 5

QUESTIONS TO GUIDE YOUR CONTRIBUTION

  • According to your understanding of housing needs in your area, is there a more pressing need for one of the following three options: social housing, affordable housing, or family housing?
  • In your opinion, is it still possible to find reasonably priced housing in your neighbourhood?
  • In your opinion, what would be a reasonable percentage of income for a household to spend on housing?
  • In your opinion, what size housing unit is most in demand in your area (studio, one bedroom, two, three or more bedrooms)? If applicable, how would you explain the scarcity of this type of housing unit in your area?

Please provide an answer that is as specific and detailed as possible. 

Diversity

In some neighbourhoods, it is proving increasingly difficult for low-income households to find housing that they can afford, and they sometimes have to give up their places to other more fortunate households. This leads to a significant drop in the social diversity that characterizes the Montréal community.

The City of Montréal would like to continue to welcome and provide quality living environments for young families, students, newcomers, seniors, vulnerable people and workers. Among its goals, the draft By-law aims to ensure the creation and maintenance of neighbourhoods that can meet a diversity of housing needs.

The draft By-law provides for the inclusion of social, affordable and family housing throughout Montréal territory for all residential projects of 450 square metres or more (approximately five housing units). Once in force, the By-law would apply to all the boroughs, which would be obliged to ensure that its provisions are respected. The percentages required for each type of housing vary according to the location and size of the residential projects.

Questions to guide your contribution

  • What can be done to make the housing supply as inclusive as possible?
  • How can we ensure that households living in a neighbourhood with rapidly rising housing costs can remain in their homes?
  • What is your perception of what the housing market is doing in your neighbourhood, living environment or borough?
  • Looking ahead into the future, if there was no by-law, what would the housing situation be like in your neighbourhood?

Please provide an answer that is as specific and detailed as possible. 

Economy

Compared with the rest of North America, Montréal is a city where housing costs remain relatively affordable. However, rents and sale prices have undergone serious hikes recently and some types of housing, notably for families, are lacking throughout the city. 

The City plans to support the production of social, affordable and family housing, but without adversely affecting the vitality of the housing market. Among other goals, it intends its By-law to be economically viable and predictable for real estate developers. 

Various options are available to developers to allow them to meet the requirements of the By-law in terms of social, affordable and family housing: the transfer of vacant land for social housing, the transfer of land with a turnkey social project, ceiling prices and rents for affordable housing, the inclusion of family housing, or financial contributions. 

Questions to guide your contribution

  • What can be done to ensure that measures adopted to guarantee access to quality housing for all do not adversely affect the vitality of the Montréal housing market?
  • What would be the economic benefits and inconveniences linked to the obligation of including social, affordable and family housing, from the developer’s perspective?

Please provide an answer that is as specific and detailed as possible. 

Territories

The City of Montréal shares an observation noted in a growing number of large cities worldwide that a scarcity of housing threatens the balance, sustainability and inclusive nature of urban environments. On its territory, it notes that the production of affordable housing is lacking in some areas, notably downtown, which consists mainly of large dense projects. 

The City therefore intends to “promote a balanced, quality residential supply throughout the territory,” by ensuring that the By-law serves as a tool adapted to the various existing realities. It also hopes to adapt its requirement to the nature of each project (number and types of housing units). 

To that end, the proposed By-law divides the city into four territories of application, established according to property values: downtown; inner neighbourhoods; periphery; and outskirts (see Map 1). The proportion of social, affordable and family housing required is outlined for each of those territories.

 

Map 1. Territories of application[1]

1-Downtown    2-Inner neighbourhoods          3-Periphery                  4-Outskirts

[1] By-law for a diverse metropolis – Interpretation document, Doc. 3.1, p. 16

Questions to guide your contribution

  • Should the By-law apply uniformly throughout the city or be adapted to the individual characteristics of the various parts of the city? 
  • If you believe that an approach adapted to individual sectors (neighbourhoods, boroughs, etc.) is required, what criteria should guide the adaptation?

Please provide an answer that is as precise and detailed as possible. 

Other opinions

Do you have any other opinion to submit to the commission? 

Identification

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