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Creating and preserving market rental housing

Rental housing is important to meet the needs of a diverse population and is vital to a healthy economy. It also allows moderate-income households to stay in the City because household incomes of renters are typically half that of owners.

Vancouver has the tightest rental market and one of the lowest vacancy rates in Canada, which over the last three years has averaged 0.9 per cent.

With a growing population, limited increases in income, and a limited supply of new, purpose-built rental housing in recent decades, the need for suitable housing choices for low- and moderate-income households has grown significantly.

How we protect and increase market rental housing

In the past few years, we've adopted the following programs and strategies to protect and increase the number of market rental homes in Vancouver:

Rental 100: Secured Market Rental Housing Policy

Our Rental 100: Secured Market Rental Housing Policy encourages the development of projects where 100 per cent of the residential units are rental. The policy targets moderate income households, and will help the City reach its goal of creating 5,000 new units of market rental housing by 2021.

How Rental 100 works

This policy encourages projects where 100 per cent of the residential rental housing units are secured for 60 years or life of the building, whichever is greater. Eligible incentives include:

  • Development cost levy (DCL) waiver
  • Parking requirement reductions
  • Relaxation of unit size to 320 square feet (provided the design and location meet the City’s liveability criteria)
  • Additional density beyond what is available under existing zoning (for projects requiring a rezoning)
  • Concurrent processing (for projects requiring a rezoning)

How Rental 100 leads to affordable rentals

Affordability will be achieved primarily through tenure, since renting is inherently less expensive than owning. In addition, affordability will be attained through reduced parking, modest size, limited on-site common amenities, level of finishing, and other design considerations.

Our guidelines for housing unit sizes, based on BC Housing standards, were developed to help applicants and staff determine the affordability of proposed housing units.

Learn more about Rental 100

Apply to create rental housing through Rental 100

  1. Review these documents:
  2. Contact the Rezoning Enquiry Line at 604-873-7038 to discuss your proposal's site suitability and merits.
  3. Prepare these documents:
  4. Email the documents to rezoning@vancouver.ca.

Protecting existing rental housing and helping tenants relocate

Our Zoning and Development Bylaw requires redevelopment projects with six or more dwelling units to replace every demolished rental unit.

If your rezoning and development application has existing rental units where tenants will be displaced, read our guidelines on minimum requirements for tenant relocation plans and use our templates.


Forms and checklists


Laneway housing

Laneway houses were introduced in 2009 as a new form of rental- and family housing in single-family areas in Vancouver. A laneway house is a smaller, detached home on a single-family lot that replaces a detached garage.

Secondary suites in single-family areas

Secondary suites supplement the Vancouver’s purpose-built rental housing stock and provide accommodation to low- and modest-income renters.

Full-size basements and livable basement suites are allowed in all single-family and multi-unit areas in the city.

Short Term Incentives for Rental Housing (STIR)

From 2009 to 2011, we conducted the Short Term Incentives for Rental (STIR) program, in response to the demand for more rental housing and the development industry's desire to create it.

The STIR program encouraged new building projects by offering incentives to developers. In return, developers agreed to provide up to 100 per cent of the units in their developments as rentals for the life of the building, or 60 years, whichever came first.

Incentives to developers included:

  • Rental property assessment (on rental units only)
  • Development cost levy (DCL) waiver (on rental units only)
  • Parking requirement reductions (on rental units only)
  • Discretion on unit size
  • Increased density
  • Expedited permit processing

Learn more about STIR 

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Last modified: Tue, 01 Sep 2015 12:18:23