Streamlining Rental: Making it easier to build secure rental housing in more neighbourhoods

Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link


Photo of 5080 Quebec St. 5-Storey Building

As Vancouver grows, we need to ensure there are a variety of housing options to meet the diverse needs and range of household incomes of people who live and work here. Building more secure rental housing in all areas of the city is a critical component to this.

The majority of Vancouver’s households are renters, and the need for secure rental housing has grown as fewer are able afford the rapidly rising costs of homeownership. In the mid 1970s, strata condos began to dominate new apartment construction and almost no new secure rental housing was built in Vancouver for 30


Photo of 5080 Quebec St. 5-Storey Building

As Vancouver grows, we need to ensure there are a variety of housing options to meet the diverse needs and range of household incomes of people who live and work here. Building more secure rental housing in all areas of the city is a critical component to this.

The majority of Vancouver’s households are renters, and the need for secure rental housing has grown as fewer are able afford the rapidly rising costs of homeownership. In the mid 1970s, strata condos began to dominate new apartment construction and almost no new secure rental housing was built in Vancouver for 30 years. These lost decades resulted in a significant shortfall of rental that has contributed to the current housing crisis. While the City introduced incentives for the construction of new rental housing in 2009 that have resulted in some new rental buildings, there is still a lot of catching up required to meet the need rental housing need.

In November 2019, following a 10 year review of the City’s Rental Incentive Programs, Council approved the Secured Rental Policy. This policy consolidates, updates and strengthens rental incentive policies that have been in place in Vancouver for over a decade. The Secured Rental Policy identifies two key changes needed to make it easier to building secure rental housing in Vancouver:

  1. Changes to C-2 zoning to allow new 6 storey rental buildings through the same process as new 4 storey condo buildings (without rezoning)

  2. 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

Learn more about the proposed actions, share your comments, and attend a virtual information session below.

The updated Secured Rental Policy is the outcome of extensive public and stakeholder consultation over the last 4 years, including what we’ve heard through engagement on the Housing Vancouver Strategy and 3-Year Action Plan (2017), the Rental Incentive Program Review (2019), and the Secured Rental Policy implementation work for C-2 zones and low-density areas (2020).

  • Streamlining Rental Initiative Referred to Public Hearing

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    On October 5th, Vancouver City Council voted to refer the Streamlining Rental Around Local Shopping Areas proposal to Public Hearing.

    The public hearing has been scheduled for Tuesday, November 2, 2021 at 6 pm, and will be held via electronic means, with in-person attendance at City Hall also available. Registration to speak at the Public Hearing will begin at 8:30 am on October 22, 2021.

    For more information on registering to speak, or on how to send your comments to Mayor and Council in advance of the Public Hearing, please visit vancouver.ca/publichearings. Please note that due to COVID-19, Public Health Orders continue to limit the number of members of the public that can attend Public Hearings in person; therefore those wishing to participate are strongly encouraged to attend remotely.

  • Council Report and Policy Changes Proposed in Response to Public Input

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    Referral Report Now Live

    The referral report Streamlining Rental around Local Shopping Areas - Amendments to the C-2, C-2B, C-2C, and C-2C1 Zones and Creation of New Rental Zones for Use in Future Rezoning Applications in Surrounding Low Density Areas Under the Secured Rental Policy is now posted on the City's website. Council will consider the report for referral on Tuesday, October 5th.

    The report contains details of proposed changes that would help create more complete neighbourhoods that include a range of “missing middle” secure market and below-market rental housing, strengthen and grow local shopping streets and reduce carbon pollution by allowing more people to live close to shopping, transit and daily needs. As quick start actions of the Vancouver Plan, the proposed changes would make it faster and easier to build new secured rental housing in these areas, and could help deliver over 4,000 new rental units over the next 10 years.

    Should Council refer the recommendations to a Public Hearing, a date is expected to be scheduled in early November. Please stay tuned for details and more information on how you can submit your comments or speak to Council directly at the Public Hearing.

    A full engagement summary can be found in Appendix K of the report, including survey results and key themes from what we have heard from the public.

    Key Changes Made in Response to Public Engagement

    Several key changes to the proposed actions to streamline rental housing, as well as to related City policies, have been made in response to public feedback received during the engagement that has been undertaken over the last three years, including:

    Simplifying and clarifying the locational criteria and map

    • Focusing eligibility on areas near existing shopping streets and public transit routes
    • Applying eligibility to the entire first block adjacent to an arterial, as opposed to a distance-based requirement

    Mitigating impact on existing renters and rental housing

    • Extending the Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan to C-2 Zones to protect more than 3,000 rental units and ensure there is no net loss of rental in these areas.
    • Removing RT-5, RT-7, RT-8 and RT-10 zones from eligibility for rezoning to protect areas with higher proportions of existing rental housing and character homes in Kitsilano and Kensington-Cedar Cottage.

    Affordability of new rental housing

    • Enabling more diverse “missing middle” secured rental housing options in neighbourhoods across Vancouver that are affordable to a wide range of renter households, including those that cannot afford homeownership.
    • Enabling more new permanently secured below-market rental units by requiring they be included in all six-storey buildings in RS and RT areas under the SRP.

    Creating more complete neighbourhoods and supporting local businesses

    • Allowing new mixed-use buildings in and near existing shopping nodes on sites that do no have existing businesses, which may reduce development pressure on sites with existing businesses.
    • Working on a Commercial Tenant Assistance Program through the Employment Lands and Economy Review.
    • Allowing a modest height increase to improve ground floor commercial spaces in new buildings.

    Strengthening the public realm in and around local shopping areas

    • Enable wider sidewalks by requiring greater building setbacks.
    • Minimizing shadows on shopping streets through flexible setback requirements.

    Climate Emergency and Green Buildings

    • Requiring all projects under the SRP to be near-zero emissions buildings, further aligning with Council’s Climate Emergency Action Plan


    Supplementary Materials – Architectural Testing

    In 2020, the City contracted independent architectural firms to perform design analysis on the proposed amendments to the C-2 zones and new standard district schedules for use in future rezonings in low density (RS/RT) areas. Memos summarizing the results of this work that supplement the Council report can be found here.

  • Streamlining Rental Housing Affordability

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    Housing Affordability

    A new board has been posted to detail and compare the housing prices and incomes needed to afford them in social housing, below-market rental, market rental and ownership housing. There is a significant diversity among renter households and their housing needs. With ownership out of reach for most residents, rental housing provides a range of secure homes to serve a variety of households and incomes, while improving housing affordability over time.

    Housing Affordability
    Rental housing vs. ownership affordability board

  • Council Update, Shadow Studies, Engagement to Date

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    Council Direction

    On Wednesday July 21, Council voted to direct staff to prepare the Streamlining Rental by-law amendments for consideration of referral to public hearing in Q4 of 2021. The public hearing will provide a final opportunity for members of the public to speak to Council or submit comments on the proposed changes. If approved at public hearing, the changes would come into effect in late fall and applications for new rental projects could then be submitted.


    To see the Streamlining Rental update to Council, refer to Appendix B of the Vancouver Quick Starts Action Council Report.


    Engagement to Date and Shadow Studies

    New boards have been posted detailing the update on the engagement to date including the themes from the virtual information sessions held in June, and the shadow studies for both RS/RT and C-2 areas. Example sites and building options have been selected to show the most typical types of rental buildings expected to be built, and those that would generally create the greatest shadow impacts.


    July 2021 - Engagement to Date, Shadow Studies
    A brief engagement update and shadow studies for C-2 and RS/RT areas.


    Survey Deadline Extension

    The survey has been extended to close on July 30, 2021 for any last minute comments on the proposed changes.

    Please visit Shapeyourcity.ca/Rental-rz to submit your responses and see the new materials.

  • Proposed actions

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link
    supporting image

    May 2021

    Details on Streamlining Rental, including background, findings from previous engagement and specifics on how the proposal has been refined since 2020, are available through the links below. Start from the top, or click on the section you are interested in to skip ahead. Share your comments and feedback through our comment form.


    Background & Context (hyperlink)
    Where this work started and where we've been
    Why is secure rental housing important? (Hyperlink)
    Housing affordability, climate emergency response and Complete Connected Neighbourhoods

    Engagement to date (hyperlink)
    Engagement to date on the Secured Rental Policy and proposed actions

    Summary of proposed actions (hyperlink)
    What changes are proposed and how we’ve refined them in response to what we’ve heard

    Leveling the playing field for rental housing and strengthening commercial streets
    Making it easier and faster to build market and below market rental housing near shopping, transit, and other daily needs

    Process and Timeline

  • Previous reports to Council on proposed C-2 and Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan changes

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    April 2021


    Previous report back on C-2 changes and Council direction

    In June 2020, staff brought a report to Council on proposed amendments to the C-2 commercial zoning districts (including C-2, C-2B, C-2C and C-2C1) to enable secured rental housing to be developed without rezoning. Following the July 2020 public hearing, Council referred the proposed changes back to staff until Council has considered the forthcoming report regarding amendments to the Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan to include the C-2 zones, and following further public consultation through the Vancouver Plan in the fall of 2020, including at the neighbourhood level.

    Read more information on Council’s decision on the C-2 changes in July 2020 in the public hearing minutes.


    Report back on Council direction regarding extension of the Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan to C-2 zones

    In February 2021, staff brought a report to Council with proposed amendments to the Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan (RHS ODP) to further protect existing rental stock in Vancouver by extending the RHS ODP to areas zoned C-2, C-2B, C-2C and C-2C1. Council approved the proposed changes following completion of the public hearing in April 2021.

    Read more information on Council’s decision on the RHS ODP in the public hearing minutes.

  • Council approves provisional goals for Vancouver Plan and directs additional engagement on rental housing initiatives

    Share on Facebook Share on Twitter Share on Linkedin Email this link

    October 2020

    In October 2020 Council approved 10 provisional goals for the Vancouver Plan, including two goals that are closely linked to key objectives of the Secured Rental Policy:

    • Develop an Affordable City with Diverse and Secure Housing for every resident that they can afford with 30% or less of their household income
    • Achieve Complete, Connected and Culturally Vibrant Neighbourhoods
    • Become a Sustainable, Carbon Neutral City


    For more information on work underway as part of these provisional goals and opportunities to get involved, visit:

    As part of subsequent work on the Vancouver Plan, including continued public engagement on the provisional goals and community recovery and quick-start actions, Council directed staff to conduct additional city-wide and neighbourhood engagement on opportunities to increase rental housing in C-2 zones and low density transition areas through the Secured Rental Policy, as well as ways to increase social housing.

    Read more about the provisional goals in the Council report and on Council’s direction in the meeting minutes

Page last updated: 18 October 2021, 17:28