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.
In 2019, following a ten year review of the City’s Rental Incentive Programs, an updated Secured Rental Policy was introduced to improve our response to these challenges by encouraging the construction of secured rental housing instead of ownership housing.
What's happeningStreamlining rental
Making it easier to build secure rental housing in more neighbourhoods
Find out more and provide your comments on proposed changes to make it easier to build secure rental housing in neighbourhoods under the Secured Rental Policy, including:
- Changes to C-2 commercial zoning
- Changes to policy for rezoning in low-density residential areas near shopping, public transportation, and other daily needs
Updates and additional public engagement on Secured Rental Policy actions
The Secured Rental Policy was approved in November 2019 to update and strengthen rental policies that have been in place in Vancouver for over ten years. The updates are the outcome of extensive public and stakeholder consultation over the last four years. As part of the updates, the Secured Rental Policy identifies two key changes needed to make it easier to build rental housing:
- Changes to C-2 zoning (commercial mixed-use areas) to allow 6 storey rental buildings through a shortened approvals process that requires a development permit. With this change, new 6 storey rental buildings on commercial streets would follow the same approval process as 4 storey condo buildings.
- Changes to the policy for rezoning in RS and RT zoned areas (low density residential) to allow new rental buildings up to 6 storeys, including process changes to utilize new standard rental zones to make it simpler and faster to build new rental housing and updated locational eligibility criteria that focus on areas within walking distance of public transportation, shopping and other daily needs.
Past public engagement
In spring 2020, we held a series of public information sessions to provide details and receive feedback on policy directions and proposed actions to implement the Secured Rental Policy.
In response to COVID-19, additional online public engagement materials were made available and the comment period was reopened from July 10 to October 4, 2020.
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
- 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, 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
Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program
Below-Market Rental Housing Policy for Rezonings
Secured Rental Policy
Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy and Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan
Secondary suites in single-family areas
Short Term Incentives for Rental Housing (STIR)