Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy


The City of Vancouver is working to increase the choices for affordable housing in Vancouver.

This includes creating new affordable housing options through the Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy.

What's happening

We're currently reviewing existing market rental incentive programs including the Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy.

At this time, new proposals are not being accepted under this program.

Learn more about the review of rental incentive programs

Policy goals

The goals of the Affordable Housing Choices Policy are to encourage housing developments that include a strong level of affordability, and:

  • Offer 100% rental units, or sold at 20% below market value
  • Are up to six storeys high on an arterial street (served by transit) or 3.5-4 storeys high within 100m of an arterial street

Only two projects are permitted within 10 blocks of each other on any arterial street.

Make a rezoning enquiry

Council approves updates to policy

On June 20, 2018, Council approved updates to the Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy as a measure to help meet the Housing Vancouver targets. 

The changes made were to:

  • Remove the maximum cap of 20 applications
  • Add consideration for up to four storey apartments on sites within approximately 100 meters of an arterial road

Enquiry applications for rental housing will be accepted until June 30, 2019, and staff will report back to Council in spring 2019 with a full review of the policy. 

Affordable Home Ownership Pilot Program goals approved in principle by Council

April 20, 2016 – City Council approved in principle the goals of an Affordable Home Ownership pilot program with the objective to enable qualifying households who live and work in Vancouver to transition from rental to affordable ownership. Council will request the Province to amend the Vancouver Charter to authorize Council to implement affordable home ownership programs generally. Council further directed staff to undertake consultation with employers, the development industry, Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation and the broader public prior to reporting back on an Affordable Home Ownership pilot program for adoption.

It is anticipated that the pilot program will provide clarification on project locations and alignment with the goals of the Affordable Housing Choices Policy. No changes have been made to the Affordable Housing Choices Policy at this time.  

Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy approved by Council

October 3, 2012 – City Council approved the Affordable Housing Choices Interim Rezoning Policy, aimed at encouraging innovation and enabling real examples of affordable housing choices on major streets related to transit. Council directed staff to seek feedback on the policy, asking for presentations to all citizen advisory committees, distribution to all neighbourhood advisory groups, and a reconvening of the Talk Housing to Us Renters' Roundtable.

Documents related to this initiative

Policies and guidelines

View the policies and guidelines related to this initiative:

Final report

Council reports

City Council has approved in principle the goals of an Affordable Home Ownership pilot program. Read the Council report detailing the research and analysis taken to develop these principles. A detailed pilot program will be brought forward to Council for adoption following public consultation.

The City of Vancouver is working to increase and protect affordable housing in Vancouver.

The goal of the Affordable Housing Choices Policy is to create new affordable housing options for students, young families, and seniors.

All applications under the new Affordable Housing Choices Policy must go through the City's official rezoning process.

This includes:

  • Neighbourhood notification
  • The chance to submit comments and concerns to staff
  • A staff report to Council
  • A public hearing for people to speak before Council makes a decision

Criteria for consideration

Rezoning applications will be considered when the following criteria regarding affordability and form of development are met:


Projects must demonstrate an enhanced level of affordability beyond that provided through the delivery of a generally more affordable housing type alone. Projects that would be considered are:

  • Where 100% of the residential floor space is rental housing
  • Where units are sold for at least 20% below market value, and include a secure mechanism for maintaining that level of affordability over time
  • Innovative housing models and forms of tenure such as co-housing, when they can demonstrate enhanced affordability as determined by the City
  • Where a Community Land Trust model is used to secure increasing affordability over time

Form of development and location

Proposals are subject to urban design performance (including consideration of shadow analysis, view impacts, frontage length, building massing, setbacks, and so on), and demonstration of a degree of community support. Projects that would be considered are:

  • Ground-oriented forms up to a maximum of 3½ storeys – such as small houses and duplexes, traditional row houses, stacked townhouses, courtyard row houses, or four storey apartments – within approximately 100 metres of an arterial street (about 1½ blocks)
  • Mid-rise forms up to a maximum of 6 storeys that front on arterials well seved by transit and are within 500 metres (a five-minute walk) of identified neighbourhood centres and local shopping areas

This policy applies to all areas of the city except those that have recently adopted community plans or are currently undergoing community planning. It also does not apply to industrial areas or to zoning districts which already permit building heights greater than six storeys (except that projects already under consideration in these districts on April 20, 2016 will continue to be considered).

City areas where applications will be considered

View larger image

Map for illustration purposes only.

Other work related to affordable housing

The City is working to deliver on the Housing Vancouver Strategy (2018-2027), including targets for:

Related initiatives

Housing Vancouver strategy

Learn how our 10-year strategy provides a strong foundation for the future in Vancouver.