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Guide to owning a home

Know your responsibilities as a homeowner.
Report property-related issues.

Taxes

If you own property in Vancouver, every year you pay property tax, apply for the home owner grant, and declare your property status for the Empty Homes Tax.

Due dates

  • Advance taxes: February 4, 2019
  • Empty Homes Tax (Vacancy Tax) declaration: February 4, 2019
  • Empty Homes Tax (Vacancy Tax) payment: April 12, 2019
  • Main taxes: July 3, 2019
  • Homeowner grant: July 3, 2019

Property tax

You can pay your property tax by online banking, mail, at City Hall, or at your bank or ATM.

Home owner grant

The provincial home owner grant program helps reduce the amount of residential property tax you pay.

Empty Homes Tax

We'll determine whether you owe the Empty Homes Tax (Vacancy Tax) based on your yearly declaration.

Waste disposal

Search our Waste Wizard by item to see how to recycle or dispose of it.

Pickup schedules

Never miss a pickup day! Look up your schedule online and sign up for reminders on the VanCollect app.

You may also pick up or order a printed schedule.

Getting bins

The City provides homes with one garbage bin and one green bin.

If you own the property, you may change your bin size or replace bins

What we collect

We collect garbage and green waste (food scraps and yard waste). 
 
We do not pick up recycling, big items (mattresses, furniture, appliances), or electronics.

Build and renovate

Understand the process and review the steps to build or renovate a house on your home’s property.

Renovate a house

  1. Review the regulations and requirements.
  2. Talk to a designer or contractor, and City staff.
  3. Submit your permit application.
  4. Start construction, get trade permits, and book inspections.
  5. Complete your home renovation.

Build a new house or laneway house

  1. Review zoning regulations and property attributes.
  2. Get required pre-approvals.
  3. Submit permit application(s).
  4. Start construction, get trade permits, and book inspections.
  5. Occupy building(s).

Review our guide to laneway housing  (9 MB)

Create or legalize a secondary suite

  1. Request a secondary suite inspection.
  2. Submit your permit application and pay fees.
  3. Begin construction, get trade permits, and book inspections.
  4. Complete construction and get a business licence.

Water and sewer

Your utility bill includes water distribution, sewer collection and treatment, and garbage and Green Bin collection.

Find your connection

Before digging on your property, make sure you know where all the pipes run.

We don't track where pipes go on private property, but our records can help you estimate where they are. Phone 3-1-1 for help.

Contact BC One Call   to find out where gas lines and other utilities are located.

Turn service on and off

You may need to shut off the water supply to find the source of a leak or do construction or renovation work.

You can either:

  • Request a City crew
  • Do it yourself with a City shut-off key

Only a property owner can ask us to send a crew to investigate a problem.

Leaks, floods, sewage

Follow our guide to find out who to phone about a problem, 3-1-1 or a plumber.

If you request a City crew, you will be billed if:

  • The source of the leak is on the portion of the water line owned by you
  • Work done on your property has damaged the water system

Water quality

If you have a problem with water quality or pressure, we can:

  • Help find the source of the problem
  • Fix problems in areas we maintain on public property

Use our guide to whether you should phone 3-1-1 or a plumber.

Property care

Taking care of your property helps ensure everyone's health and safety.

Prepare for an earthquake to keep you, your items, and your home safe.

Emergency preparedness tips


Trees must meet conditions to be removed from private property under the Protection of Trees Bylaw.

When you can apply to remove a tree

  • It causes serious damage to your property.
  • It's located within the building envelope – the walls, roof, and foundation – of your construction or renovation site.
  • It's dead, dying, diseased, or is a hazard.

You will need a permit to remove a tree or hedge if it meets particular measurements or was a condition of approving a plan or permit.


Water restrictions are set by Metro Vancouver to make sure we have enough treated drinking water in the dry summer months.

Water restrictions

  • Year round: automatic shut-off devices are required on hoses
  • May 1 to October 15: lawn watering restrictions are in effect

You may be able to get an exception permit from May 1 to October 15 if you have a new lawn or are treating your lawn for European Chafer Beetles.

Landlords

To rent your residential property, you need a rental property business licence. The licence type depends on how long you’ll rent your residence and whether you will live there.

Long-term rentals

A long-term rental:

  • Is for 30 days or more
  • Requires a licence even if you hire a property manager
  • Can include a range of residential property types (one-family house, laneway house, secondary suite, duplex, multi-unit building, and more)

Short-term rentals

A short-term rental:

  • Can be an entire home, or a room within that home
  • Is rented for less than 30 days at a time
  • Are only allowed in secondary homes or basement suites if you live there full time

Bed and breakfasts

Before applying for a bed and breakfast (B and B), make sure your home:

  • Is in a zone that allows B and Bs
  • Meets safety requirements

There are also requirements for running your B and B once you have a licence.


Report

Quickly report issues and request City services with our VanConnect app.

Download VanConnect

Or use the links below to try VanConnect in your browser.