Secured Rental Policy in low-density transition areas

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Rental housing is important to meet the needs of our diverse population and is vital to a healthy economy. With a growing population and one of the lowest vacancy rates in Canada, the need for rental housing is increasing across the city.

The City has had a policy in place supporting rezoning for new townhouse and apartment rental buildings in areas zoned for single family or duplex (RS or RT zones) since 2012. The rezoning process was lengthy, complex, and uncertain, and only a few projects have been built.

To encourage more secured rental housing, improve livability and address climate change, Council updated the policy in 2019. It is now part of the Secured Rental Policy. To implement the policy we are developing new rental zones. These rental zones will provide standard requirements for new rental housing, simplify the rezoning process and provide more certainty regarding what type of housing can be built in low-density areas.

In March 2020 we shared information about the policy and provided an opportunity for comment on the new rental zones. Since then, we have been considering the comments received and completing further technical work. We are now proposing some changes to Secured Rental Policy and have added more detail to the new rental zones. As part of the process we are providing an opportunity for the public and industry stakeholders to review and comment.

What is secured rental housing?

This type of housing is secured as rental through a legal agreement that ensures it cannot be converted to a condo or strata unit. Apartment buildings are the most common form of secured rental housing.

Other types of rental housing, such as a rented basement suite or condo unit, are less secure. Owners can evict tenants to move in, and tenants are often forced to move when the unit is bought or sold.

Rental housing is important to meet the needs of our diverse population and is vital to a healthy economy. With a growing population and one of the lowest vacancy rates in Canada, the need for rental housing is increasing across the city.

The City has had a policy in place supporting rezoning for new townhouse and apartment rental buildings in areas zoned for single family or duplex (RS or RT zones) since 2012. The rezoning process was lengthy, complex, and uncertain, and only a few projects have been built.

To encourage more secured rental housing, improve livability and address climate change, Council updated the policy in 2019. It is now part of the Secured Rental Policy. To implement the policy we are developing new rental zones. These rental zones will provide standard requirements for new rental housing, simplify the rezoning process and provide more certainty regarding what type of housing can be built in low-density areas.

In March 2020 we shared information about the policy and provided an opportunity for comment on the new rental zones. Since then, we have been considering the comments received and completing further technical work. We are now proposing some changes to Secured Rental Policy and have added more detail to the new rental zones. As part of the process we are providing an opportunity for the public and industry stakeholders to review and comment.

What is secured rental housing?

This type of housing is secured as rental through a legal agreement that ensures it cannot be converted to a condo or strata unit. Apartment buildings are the most common form of secured rental housing.

Other types of rental housing, such as a rented basement suite or condo unit, are less secure. Owners can evict tenants to move in, and tenants are often forced to move when the unit is bought or sold.

  • Direction from Council for additional public engagement

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    23 Oct 2020

    We have received new direction from City Council on October 5, 2020. The direction is for staff to conduct additional engagement on the Secured Rental Policy over the next few months as part of the Vancouver Plan. This direction means that we do not anticipate providing a report to Council until that additional engagement is complete, and implementation of the Secured Rental Policy in low density areas would be deferred to at least spring of 2021.

    We will provide an update once more information is available. In the interim, we want to thank those that have participated in the process so far and hope that you will continue to provide your input.

    Links to more information:

    We have received new direction from City Council on October 5, 2020. The direction is for staff to conduct additional engagement on the Secured Rental Policy over the next few months as part of the Vancouver Plan. This direction means that we do not anticipate providing a report to Council until that additional engagement is complete, and implementation of the Secured Rental Policy in low density areas would be deferred to at least spring of 2021.

    We will provide an update once more information is available. In the interim, we want to thank those that have participated in the process so far and hope that you will continue to provide your input.

    Links to more information:

  • Staff are reviewing recent public input

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    05 Oct 2020

    The second public comment period (July 10 to October 4, 2020) is now complete. The comment form is now closed. Thank you to those who participated. Staff are reviewing the additional comments received and will include them as part of a report to Council. When the report is available, a link will be posted to this web page and notification will be provided to those who have signed up to receive information by email.

    The second public comment period (July 10 to October 4, 2020) is now complete. The comment form is now closed. Thank you to those who participated. Staff are reviewing the additional comments received and will include them as part of a report to Council. When the report is available, a link will be posted to this web page and notification will be provided to those who have signed up to receive information by email.

  • Additional opportunity for public input in summer 2020

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    16 Jun 2020

    In March 2020 we hosted a series of Public Information Sessions across the City. These sessions provided a chance for members of the public to ask questions about the policy and provide comment on the new rental zones. Six of these sessions were held, while the final session (Sunset Community Centre) was cancelled as a result of COVID-19.

    Staff have reviewed the comments from March and conducted additional technical analysis. We are now proposing some changes to the Secured Rental Policy for low-density areas to make it easier to understand and providing some additional detail on the new rental zones.

    We are providing another opportunity for public comment from July 10 to October 4, 2020. The purpose is to provide:

    • An opportunity for past participants to see and comment on proposed changes to the policy and the new rental zones.
    • An opportunity for questions and input from those who did not comment previously or could not comment previously as a result of COVID-19.


    Your comments will be considered as we refine our recommendations and prepare a report for Council’s consideration in the fall.

    A summary of the proposed changes to the policy can be found here.

    A description of the new rental zones can be found here.

    More information on why we need more secured rental housing can be found in our March engagement materials here.

    In March 2020 we hosted a series of Public Information Sessions across the City. These sessions provided a chance for members of the public to ask questions about the policy and provide comment on the new rental zones. Six of these sessions were held, while the final session (Sunset Community Centre) was cancelled as a result of COVID-19.

    Staff have reviewed the comments from March and conducted additional technical analysis. We are now proposing some changes to the Secured Rental Policy for low-density areas to make it easier to understand and providing some additional detail on the new rental zones.

    We are providing another opportunity for public comment from July 10 to October 4, 2020. The purpose is to provide:

    • An opportunity for past participants to see and comment on proposed changes to the policy and the new rental zones.
    • An opportunity for questions and input from those who did not comment previously or could not comment previously as a result of COVID-19.


    Your comments will be considered as we refine our recommendations and prepare a report for Council’s consideration in the fall.

    A summary of the proposed changes to the policy can be found here.

    A description of the new rental zones can be found here.

    More information on why we need more secured rental housing can be found in our March engagement materials here.

  • Updated eligibility map

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    16 Jun 2020

    We have updated the map showing the locations in which the policy would apply. The map is a general illustration, and is meant to be used along with diagrams to identify which blocks would and would not be eligible under the policy. The map and diagrams can be found here.

    If you would like more information on whether your property meets the requirements of the policy please email us at housingpolicy@vancouver.ca.

    We have updated the map showing the locations in which the policy would apply. The map is a general illustration, and is meant to be used along with diagrams to identify which blocks would and would not be eligible under the policy. The map and diagrams can be found here.

    If you would like more information on whether your property meets the requirements of the policy please email us at housingpolicy@vancouver.ca.