Rental housing is important to meet the needs of a diverse population and is vital to a healthy economy and equitable, resilient housing system. It also allows moderate-income households to stay in the city because household incomes of renters are typically half that of owners.
Vancouver has the tightest rental market and one of the lowest vacancy rates in Canada, consistently below 3% over the last decade.
With a growing population, limited increases in income, and a limited supply of new, purpose-built rental housing in recent decades, the need for rental housing has grown significantly.
What's happeningBelow-market rental optimization
Below-market housing is rental housing that is more affordable than market rental housing and is delivered by the private market in exchange for an increase in density. This program is intended to meet the housing needs of the 40% of Vancouver renter households who do not qualify for social housing but struggle to afford full market rents.
We currently have a number of overlapping below-market rental policies and are proposing changes to standardize them. The changes we are proposing are a result of lessons learned since the approval of the Moderate Income Rental Pilot Program (MIRHPP) in 2017, our first below-market rental policy.
The proposed changes focus on standardizing our approach to setting the below-market rental rates at initial occupancy and at unit turnover (when a new tenant moves in). The changes will guarantee that the rents charged will remain at a fixed percentage below market.
- The primary goals of these updates are to:
- Contribute to the financial viability of below-market rental projects
- Streamline the process of developing below-market rental homes
- Increase the number of below-market rental homes built
These changes will not impact existing tenants currently living in below-market rental homes, or existing tenants who have been offered right-of-first-refusal to come back to a new below-market rental building.
We hosted public information sessions in-person on July 11 and 12, 2023 and online on July 13, 2023 where participants learned more about these proposed changes.
- Review the public information session materials PDF file (794 KB)
- Explore the engagement board panels PDF file (4.6 MB)
This proposal will go to Council on Wednesday, October 4, 2023. Find out how to attend or speak at a Council meeting
This initiative is part of the implementation of the Housing Vancouver Strategy (2018 to 2027) which is our strategy to ensure that Vancouver can be a home for people of all incomes and backgrounds. Housing Vancouver includes an overall target of 72,000 new homes over the next 10 years, including 4,000 below-market rental homes, to better reflect the income and housing diversity needs in the city.
Previous work on the Rental Incentive Program Review
In November 2019, we reported back to Council with results and recommendations from a ten year review of City rental incentive programs.
As part of the report back on this work, Council approved an amended Secured Rental Policy and provided direction for staff to prepare further policy and zoning changes to enable implementation.
For more information, see the Council report and rental review documents below.
We use the following programs and strategies to protect and increase the number of market rental homes in Vancouver.
In each section:
- Learn how each program works
- Apply to create housing through these programs
- Get resources and forms