The 3522 Porter St development provided rental housing units under the Short Term Incentives for Rental housing program

Creating and protecting market rental housing

Rental housing is important to meet the needs of a diverse population and is vital to a healthy economy. 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, which over the last three years has averaged 0.9 per cent.

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.

Whats happening

In-person events on hold due to COVID-19 (Coronavirus)

Staff cancelled the final public information session scheduled on Tue Mar 17 at Sunset Community Centre.

The COVID-19 situation has been rapidly evolving. We will be posting additional online resources to address frequently asked questions.

To stay informed:

Online comments deadline extended

The deadline for online comments on the Secured Rental Policy implementation proposals is extended until Friday, April 3, 2020.

Following Council’s approval of the amended Secured Rental Policy, we're working on necessary next steps for the implementation of policy directions. This work will be taking place over the coming year, including: 

  • Recommendations to amend zoning for select commercial areas (C-2 zoning districts) to enable rental housing development up to 6-storeys through a ‘pre-zoning’ approach
  • Enhanced rental housing rezoning options in low-density transition areas

Any proposed changes will be subject to Council approval. 

Find detailed information and provide feedback

Past spring 2020 information sessions

A series of public information sessions to provide details on the Secured Rental Policy and implementation of the policy directions approved by Council were held:

  • Tue Mar 3, Killarney Community Centre (with Cantonese interpretation services)
  • Thu Mar 5, Dunbar Community Centre
  • Mon Mar 9, CityLab
  • Tue Mar, 10 Hastings Community Centre (with Cantonese interpretation services)
  • Wed Mar 11, Kitsilano Neighbourhood House
  • Thu Mar 12, Polish Hall

Approved changes to our rental housing incentive policies

In the summer of 2018, we began a review of our rental housing incentive policies, completed in two phases. 

Phase I (August 2018 – July 2019) examined the performance of the City’s rental incentive policies over the past decade and current market conditions for developing rental housing. Key issues and opportunities for improvement were identified.

Phase II (August – November 2019) explored ideas for improving the City’s rental incentive policies. Research performed in Phase I, along with engagement with the public and key stakeholders helped inform policy changes recommended to Council. Policy changes recommended to Council are intended to enable more rental housing options across the city, as well as work toward other city objectives, including responding to the climate emergency.

On November 26, 2019, Council approved a number of changes to our rental housing incentive policies, including:

  • An amended Secured Rental Policy
  • Direction to implement new provincial authority for Residential Rental Tenure zoning
  • Changes to our Development Cost Levy (DCL) waivers for rental housing development
  • A new Below-Market Rental Housing Policy for Rezonings
  • Extension of proposal deadline for the  Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program
  • A new Energy Plus Reinvestment Pilot to support key building and energy upgrades while keeping tenants in place

For more information, please see the Council report and rental policies below.

 Some of the rental housing development opportunities under the Secured Rental Policy require further work and additional Council approval prior to being open for new applications, as they rely on additional testing and refinement of locational criteria and the introduction of new rental tenure zoning districts schedules. 

At this time, staff cannot provide advice on the eligibility of specific sites in low density transition areas (RS/RT), and new rezoning proposals in these areas will not be considered until new rental tenure zoning district schedules are in place. New rezoning applications for rental projects in C-2 commercial zones will continue to be considered, however it should be noted that staff are preparing amendments to the C-2 district schedules to enable new 6-storey rental projects in areas outside of recent or current community plan areas to proceed directly through a development permit process without going through rezoning.

Public open houses regarding the new rental tenure district schedules in low-density transition areas and C-2 changes are expected in March 2020, with referral and public hearing anticipated in spring 2020. If you would like to be notified of these engagement opportunities, please sign up for our mailing list below or contact us at

Find more details on what was approved by Council:

Rental programs

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