Retain your character house

A character home

Character houses add definition and vibrancy to our neighbourhoods, and are valued by many Vancouver residents. 

These older homes were built using high-quality local materials, and give many streets a unique and consistent character, including features which provide a neighbourly face to the street.

On January 16, 2018, Council approved the enactment of changes to the RS District Schedules and related design guidelines to support character home retention and introduce increased opportunities for housing choice.

What can I do with my character home?

When a character house is retained, home owners have the opportunity to:

Before you start planning

Review the zoning schedules, guidelines, and policies before you start your plan:

Is my house eligible?

These incentives are available when a character house is retained in any RS single-family zone. You can look up your zoning online using our simple map tool.

Look up your home's zoning online

Character houses are typically built before 1940, and meet established criteria. You may request a character assessment of your house by staff to determine if your house qualifies.

Request a character merit assessment

Get help with the approval process

If you are interested in a character home retention project and have general questions, you may phone or visit our Development and Building Services Centre to learn more about regulations and the approval process, and find out if your lot is eligible.

If you are ready with a preliminary proposal, we encourage you to book a pre-application meeting with a development planner.

 Development planner pre-application meetings are for a review of preliminary plans. For all other questions please contact the Development and Building Services Centre.