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Single Room Accommodation Bylaw-designated building at Columbia and Cordova streets

Single Room Accommodation (SRA) Bylaw

The SRA Bylaw prevents the loss of low-income housing and the displacement of tenants in Vancouver's Downtown core.

Single room accommodation includes single room occupancy hotels (SRO), rooming houses, and non-market housing with rooms less than 320 square feet.

The bylaw prevents tenant displacement and the loss of this housing stock by regulating its alteration, conversion, and demolition.

Read the SRA Bylaw PDF file (260 KB)

What are SRAs and where do they exist?

Properties designated under the bylaw include:

  • Residential hotels and single room occupancy (SRO) hotels
  • Rooming houses
  • Other non-market housing with rooms that are less than 320 square feet

Most SRAs are privately owned and operated, and provide minimal quality of housing: a room typically 100 square feet in area with a basic cooking setup (like a hot plate) and a shared bathroom in the hall. Tenants are covered by the Residential Tenancy Act.

The City's policy is to replace SRA housing over time with safe, secure, and self-contained dwelling units (sleeping area, living area, private kitchen, and bathroom) that are affordable to low-income singles.

The SRA Bylaw applies to the area bounded by Burrard Inlet to the north, Clark Drive to the east, Terminal Avenue and False Creek to the south, and Burrard Street to the west.

The SRA inventory was created as part of the 2003 Survey of Low Income Housing and is published every two years.

To find an SRA, use the map below or the SRA inventory in Schedule A of the SRA Bylaw PDF file (260 KB).

Map of SRA buildings and SRA Bylaw area

Altering, converting, or demolishing SRAs requires a permit

SRA building owners that want to alter, convert, or demolish rooms must apply for an SRA conversion or demolition permit. A permit can be approved outright, approved with conditions, or refused.

City Council or the chief housing officer grant permits based on criteria from the Vancouver Charter section 193 D External website.

City Council and the chief housing officer generally support permit applications that:

  1. Enhance the livability of SRAs (like adding bathrooms or cooking facilities)
  2. Protect existing tenants
  3. Maintain affordability
  4. Replace SRA units on a one-for-one basis

Read our policies and guidelines for upgrading SRA rooms PDF file (75 KB)

Apply for a SRA conversion and demolition permit

Non-profit SRA owners

Non-profit organizations that own SRAs may apply for a grant of $5,000 per room to complete building upgrades.

Learn about the grant and apply PDF file (105 KB)

How we ensure standards of maintenance in SRAs

To ensure buildings are safe, tidy, and well maintained for tenants, we inspect SRAs every year, as well as if complaints are made.

View related property use and maintenance bylaws

When we inspect SRAs, owners must have the following records available:

  1. A Notice of Designation posted in an obvious location PDF file (260 KB)
  2. A completed room registration form for each occupant of each designated room PDF file (260 KB)
  3. A tenant register PDF file (100 KB) that lists the following items for each designated room:
    • Room number
    • Name of each permanent resident
    • Rent amount
    • Rent payment period (such as weekly or monthly)
    • Tenancy start date

These records must be made available to the director of licenses and inspections upon request.

If SRA owners don’t follow the regulations, they may be fined $500 to $10,000 per offence, per room.

For ongoing, unresolved offences, the fines may accumulate and we may seek to prevent owners from altering, converting, or demolishing SRAs.

Report concerns and get resources

Report a property concern

Get help with a property use or maintenance concern.

Find rental properties with health or safety issues

Look up residential rental buildings in Vancouver with health, safety, maintenance, tidiness, and other issues. The database lists buildings with issues that are unresolved or were resolved in the last 12 months.

Homelessness and low-income resources

Find shelters, financial aid, low-cost meals and recreation, and community centres that serve low-income residents.

Apply for a SRA permit