A photo of character homes

Character Home Retention Incentives Program

Heritage and character buildings are valued by many Vancouver residents, and are an important component of defining neighbourhood identity and character.

The Character Home Zoning Review was started as part of the Heritage Action Plan in response to growing public concern over the loss of character homes in the city.

Following a year and a half of public consultation, on October 3, 2017, Council approved amendments to the Zoning and Development Bylaw to introduce character retention incentives and increased opportunities for housing choice in low-density zones across the city.

Character versus heritage

A character house is a house built prior to 1940 that is considered to have heritage character merit by City staff, but is not listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register.

A heritage house is a house that is listed on the Vancouver Heritage Register.

What's happeningCouncil recently approved zoning changes

Council recently approved zoning changes to add multiplexes with up to 6 units per lots:

  • As a new missing middle housing option
  • To simplify rules for other housing options in low-density neighbourhoods across the city

Some minor adjustments to the regulations for character retention projects were made to align with these changes. In addition, Council directed staff to explore and report back on options to update the character retention policies to align with the 1.0 FSR permitted for new multiplexes. Staff are working on it and are targeting to have a report back in 2024.

Learn more about the changes

Retain your character house

Learn about the guidelines and eligibility requirements for retaining your character home.


Heat pump rebate and energy efficient enquiries

We do not administer heat pump rebate applications.

Contact a Clean BC Better Homes Energy Coach through their online form or by phone 1-844-881-9790.

Find out more about heat pumps

Contact the Development and Building Services Centre

Contact us online

The Development and Building Centre is open for in-person scheduled appointments or payments. 

Location and mailing address
Development and Building Centre
515 West 10th Avenue, Ground Floor
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4A8