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.
Green building requirements for new 4-6 storey apartments moving to the Building By-law
In May 2022, Council approved amendments to the Vancouver Building By-law, effective July 1, 2023, to reduce the carbon emissions limits for new 4-6 storey residential buildings. These changes will make the green building requirements, contained in the Secured Rental Policy and C-2 zoning regulations for residential rental tenure developments, unnecessary. In January 2023, Council approved amendments to remove these changes, effective March 15, 2023.
As approved by Council, in-stream rezoning and development permit applications submitted prior to March 15, 2023, are expected to continue to comply with the policy and zoning requirements that applied at the time of application.
Get more information
- Council Report: Climate Emergency – By-law and Policy Updates Applicable to New Buildings PDF file (648 KB) – May 2022
- Council Report: Zoning and Development By-law Amendments to Simplify Green Building Regulations PDF file (75 KB) – January 2023
- Secured Rental Policy (section 7) PDF file (622 KB)
- Rental Incentive Programs Bulletin (section 2.3) PDF file (667 KB)
For in-stream development permit applications for rental tenure projects in C-2 submitted before March 15, 2023, review for reference:
- Green Building Requirements – Residential Rental Tenure Development Applications in C-2, C-2B, C-2C, and C-2C1 Districts PDF file (128 KB) - submitted prior to March 15, 2023 guide
- C-2 PDF file (1.3 MB) (superceded copy)
- C-2B PDF file (1.3 MB) (superceded copy)
- C-2C PDF file (1.3 MB) (superceded copy)
- C-2C1 PDF file (1.3 MB) (superceded copy)
Minor eligibility change for the Secured Rental Policy in the Rupert and Renfrew Station area
On March 29, 2022, Council approved Terms of Reference and associated interim policies for the Rupert and Renfrew Station Area Planning program, including an Interim Rezoning Policy (IRP), which limits the types of rezoning applications that may be supported in the study area while the planning process is underway. The IRP allows for applications under the Secured Rental Policy to continue to be considered, except on two blocks within the Still Creek floodplain. All new opportunities for rezoning within the floodplain have been suspended under the IRP.
Minor consequential amendments to the Secured Rental Policy eligibility map were also approved to ensure consistency with the IRP. The updated map can be found on page 13 of the Secured Rental Policy and page 3 of the Rezoning Guide.
Streamlining Rental Housing approved by Council
On December 14, 2021, Council approved policy and zoning changes that will create more complete, connected, and walkable neighbourhoods in Vancouver by speeding up the delivery of rental housing in local shopping areas and nearby low-density areas:
- Changes to C-2 zoning to allow new six storey rental buildings through the same process as new four storey condo buildings (without rezoning)
- Changes to policy for rezoning in low-density areas (RS or RT zones) to simplify the process by standardizing regulations through new rental zones, focusing on areas within walking distance of public transportation, shopping, and other daily needs
These changes take action on key directions identified by the Secured Rental Policy, which was approved by Council in November 2019, following a comprehensive review of our previous rental incentive programs.
For more information, see the materials below:
- Streamlining rental council report PDF file (20 MB)
- Council public hearing meeting minutes PDF file (590 KB)
- Council presentation PDF file (9 MB)
- Streamlining rental information boards PDF file (51 MB)
Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan
In April 2021, Council approved updates to extend rental replacement requirements under the Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan PDF file (408 KB) to cover C2 commercial areas.
Previous work on the Rental Incentive Program Review
Rental incentive programs 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