In response to an escalating housing challenge, the Ville de Montréal has introduced a new tool designed to improve the supply of social, affordable and family housing in the city: the By-law for a diverse metropolis.
Preserve the mixed, affordable nature of Montréal, and support the quality of our living environments;
Favour universal access to decent housing;
Create a structuring effect on the residential market by boosting its vitality and sustainability.
What does this by-law specify?
The By-law introduces a new obligation for all housing projects of 450 m² or more (equivalent to about five units). To obtain a construction permit, builders must sign an agreement with the city to improve the supply of social, affordable and family housing.
The By-law specifies obligations and offers several options for meeting them: construction of housing units, transfer of land, financial contribution, etc. The result: A contribution corresponding to 20% social housing, 20% affordable housing and 20% family housing — the latter target is distributed throughout the project. Note that these percentages vary depending on the sector and the options chosen by the builder.
This is not the first measure that the Ville de Montréal has put in place to manage housing development. In fact, the new by-law replaces the Strategy for the inclusion of affordable housing in new residential projects, which the city adopted in 2005.
Whereas the strategy was an incentive measure, the By-law requires each project to contribute to the city's mixed-housing objectives. The former targets of 15% for social and affordable housing have now been raised to 20%. An equivalent target has been set for family housing, which was not previously considered.
Preserving the vitality of the real-estate market
The Ville de Montréal has endeavored to make this bylaw a viable, predictable tool for the industry, adapted to the realities of the Montréal real estate market. It thus conducted rigorous analyses, including an economic impact study. Several experts and private and social developers were also consulted.
The analyses done by the city and its consultants indicate that, overall, the By-law will have a reasonable impact on the market. The average increase in sale price of 2% will be enough to offset the effects of the by-law. This price rise will range from 0 to 4% depending on the sector. In some cases, the impact will even be positive.
Participate in the public consultation
Montréalers are invited to participate in the public consultation on the proposed by-law, which the Office de consultation publique de Montréal (OCPM) will organize in fall 2019.
The final by-law is slated for adoption in early 2020, and should take effect on January 1, 2021.
A few definitions
Social housing is housing whose construction is subsidized by a social and community housing program run by the Québec government (currently: AccèsLogis Québec and AccèsLogis Montréal). Social and community housing is developed by cooperatives, non-profit organizations, and the Office municipal d'habitation de Montréal.
Under the By-law, housing is considered "affordable" when its rent or purchase price is situated below the ceilings defined by the By-law. These ceiling prices are equal to or slightly lower than the market prices of housing of modest design.
Family housing may be social, affordable or at market price. It has at least three bedrooms and sufficient space for a family, namely a gross area of 86 m2 for the "downtown" and "inner neighbourhoods"territories, and a gross area of 96 m2 for the "periphery" and "outskirts" territories. Such housing may be rented or purchased.