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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 suitable housing choices for low- and moderate-income households has grown significantly.

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

The Moderate Income Rental Housing Pilot Program encourages development proposals for new buildings where:

  1. 100% of the residential floor area is secured rental housing
  2. At least 20% of the residential floor area is made available to moderate income households earning $30,000 to $80,000 per year

How the program works

The pilot program will select up to 20 proposals for submission of rezoning applications between January 1, 2018 and July 1, 2019. All applications will proceed through a full rezoning process, including public hearing.

Eligible City incentives for Moderate Income Rental Housing projects include:

  • Additional height and density beyond what is available under existing zoning
  • Development Cost Levy (DCL) waiver
  • Parking requirement reductions
  • Relaxation of minimum unit size and configuration requirements
  • Expedited processing

How the program creates affordable rentals

The incentives for this program are designed to encourage delivery of rental buildings where at least 20% of the residential floor area is made available to moderate income households.

Targeted rents in Moderate Income Rental units
Housing unit Monthly rent
Studio $950
1 bedroom $1,200
2 bedroom $1,600
3 bedroom $2,000

Each project owner or their designated property manager will administer the moderate income rental units, including tenant qualification and waitlisting.

Rent increases in the moderate income units will be capped according to the BC Residential Tenancy Act annual allowable increase, regardless of unit turnover.

Tenant eligibility for moderate income rental units will be verified by the building’s management at initial occupancy and on an ongoing basis.

  • For new tenants, household income cannot exceed 4 times the annual rent for the unit (at least 25% of income is spent on rent).
  • For existing tenants, household income cannot exceed 5 times the annual rent for the unit (at least 20% of income is spent on rent).
  • If an existing tenant no longer qualifies for their moderate income rental unit, the operator will issue a six-month notice to end tenancy, in accordance with the BC Residential Tenancy Act.

Learn more about the program

Apply to create rental housing through the program

Note The program is currently full and we are not accepting additional pre-enquiry applications until further notice.

We accepted preliminary pre-enquiry applications for review from January 1 to February 16, 2018.

The application form is available below for your reference only.

Pre-enquiry application form PDF (360 KB)

Our Rental 100: Secured Market Rental Housing Policy encourages the development of projects where 100 per cent of the residential units are rental. The policy targets moderate income households, and will help the City reach its goal of creating 5,000 new units of market rental housing by 2021.

How Rental 100 works

This policy encourages projects where 100 per cent of the residential rental housing units are secured for 60 years or life of the building, whichever is greater. Eligible incentives include:

  • Development cost levy (DCL) waiver
  • Parking requirement reductions
  • Relaxation of unit size to 320 square feet (provided the design and location meet the City’s liveability criteria)
  • Additional density beyond what is available under existing zoning (for projects requiring a rezoning)
  • Concurrent processing (for projects requiring a rezoning)

How Rental 100 leads to affordable rentals

Affordability will be achieved primarily through tenure, since renting is inherently less expensive than owning. In addition, affordability will be attained through reduced parking, modest size, limited on-site common amenities, level of finishing, and other design considerations.

Our guidelines for housing unit sizes, based on BC Housing standards, were developed to help applicants and staff determine the affordability of proposed housing units.

Learn more about Rental 100

Apply to create rental housing through Rental 100

  1. Review these documents:
  2. Contact the Rezoning Enquiry Line at 604-873-7038 to discuss your proposal's site suitability and merits.
  3. Prepare these documents:
  4. Email the documents to rezoning@vancouver.ca.

We prioritize the preservation and protection of Vancouver’s rental housing through the Rental Housing Stock Official Development Plan PDF (19 KB). The plan requires that redevelopment projects with six or more dwelling units replace every demolished rental unit.

Learn what this means for tenants and developers

Laneway houses were introduced in 2009 as a new form of rental- and family housing in single-family areas in Vancouver. A laneway house is a smaller, detached home on a single-family lot that replaces a detached garage.

Secondary suites supplement the Vancouver’s purpose-built rental housing stock and provide accommodation to low- and modest-income renters.

Full-size basements and livable basement suites are allowed in all single-family and multi-unit areas in the city.

From 2009 to 2011, we conducted the Short Term Incentives for Rental (STIR) program, in response to the demand for more rental housing and the development industry's desire to create it.

The STIR program encouraged new building projects by offering incentives to developers. In return, developers agreed to provide up to 100 per cent of the units in their developments as rentals for the life of the building, or 60 years, whichever came first.

Incentives to developers included:

  • Rental property assessment (on rental units only)
  • Development cost levy (DCL) waiver (on rental units only)
  • Parking requirement reductions (on rental units only)
  • Discretion on unit size
  • Increased density
  • Expedited permit processing

Learn more about STIR