What is the Rental Housing Stock ODP?

    The Rental Housing Stock ODP (RHS ODP) is a City policy that requires one- for-one replacement of existing rental housing units in developments of three or more units in multi-family apartment areas (RM, FM, and CD-1 zones). The policy is intended to prevent the loss of rental units in these zones, and covers 77% of the existing purpose-built rental housing stock ( ~54,000 units).

    The RHS ODP is a key tool for retaining existing secure rental housing affordable to  moderate-income residents (<$50K for singles and <$80K for couples and families) in some of the city’s most transit-accessible and amenity-rich neighbourhoods. The replacement requirement under the RHS ODP has the effect of protecting existing rental housing in apartment areas, which is generally more affordable than other forms of market housing like ownership or new market rental. In areas identified for change, the RHS ODP ensures that new developments that are impacting existing rental must contain new replacement rental.

    Market Rental Units Demolished in Rental Housing Stock ODP Areas (1985 – 2018)

    Source: City of Vancouver Market Rental Inventory, 2018

    The RHS ODP requires replacement of existing rental in cases where a development of 3 or more units would demolish or change the use of that rental.

    More information on the Rental Housing Stock ODP and what it regulate can be found here: 


    What changes are being proposed and why?

    On November 26, 2019 Council directed staff to include commercial areas zoned C-2, C-2B, C-2C, and C-2C1 [hereafter 'C-2 zoning districts'] to the areas covered by the RHS ODP, in order to ensure that existing rental in these areas be replaced on a one-for-one basis if redeveloped. 

    The proposed amendments to the Rental Housing Stock ODP will be presented to City Council for review through a public hearing (targeting Q1. 2021).

    C-2 Zoned Areas and Rental Housing Stock ODP Areas

    Why weren’t commercial areas originally included in the Rental Housing Stock ODP?

    The intent of the Rental Housing Stock ODP was to slow the rate of development impacting existing rental in the city’s multi-family apartment areas, where the majority of rental housing exists. Areas that were zoned for non-residential uses such as commercial areas were not originally included in the RHS ODP as there is significantly less rental in these areas.

    How much rental is located in commercial C-2 zoning areas, and where is it?

    The City of Vancouver's inventory of market rental buildings indicates that there are approximately 380 purpose-built rental buildings containing 3,050 rental units in areas in C-2 zoning districts. These rental units represent 4% of the City's purpose-built rental stock. Purpose-built rental buildings in these areas are generally small, with 17% of buildings containing 3 units or less. Rental buildings located in C-2 zones have a median number of 5 rental units. Approximately, 73% of rental buildings located in C-2 zones contain less than 10 units. 

    Figure 3. Number of Rental Buildings in C-2 Zones by Number of Existing Rental Units

    Source: City of Vancouver Market Rental Inventory, 2018

    Approximately, 15% of all properties in C-2 zoning districts contain existing rental housing. Kitsilano, Kensington-Cedar Cottage, and Grandview-Woodlands are the top three local areas that contain the most existing rental housing in C-2 zones. Approximately, 60% of sites  C-2 zones that contain exist rental are on the east side versus 40% of sites on the west side of Vancouver.

    C-2 Properties Across Vancouver With and Without Existing Rental Housing

    Source: City of Vancouver Market Rental Inventory, 2018

    What will this policy change mean for renters and rental housing?

    Currently, existing rental housing in commercial C-2 zoning areas can be demolished through development of new strata or other non-rental development without being replaced.  

    Expanding the Rental Housing Stock ODP to these zones would ensure that all existing rental units would be replaced with new secured rental units.  It would prevent the loss of existing rental to new development not containing rental – such as new 100% strata developments.  In some cases, this change may encourage the development of 100% purpose-built rental housing through a 6 storey rezoning instead of strata housing on sites containing existing rental units. In other cases, this change may prevent the demolition of existing rental housing, especially on sites containing a higher number of rental units. 

    The Provincial Residential Tenancy Act and the City of Vancouver’s Tenant Relocation and Protection Policy also contain provisions to protect renters and mitigate the impacts of redevelopment. These include requirements for advance notice to end tenancies, as well as additional support and compensation.

    What will this policy change mean for property owners?

    If Council approves the proposed amendments to extend the Rental Housing Stock ODP to C-2 zoning districts, a redevelopment on a site containing existing rental will be required to replace that rental, as well as secure it as rental for 60 years or the life of the building via a legal agreement on title, such as a housing agreement. This may require a separate air space parcel from the rest of the new development, as well as separate ongoing management of the replacement rental units. 

    For property owners who plan to continue to rent their existing building, the impacts of the new rental replacement requirements will be limited. 

    For property owners who are intending to sell or redevelop their properties, the impact will include a reduction in land value of approximately 10-30%, though the specific land value impact is dependent on site location, the number of existing rental housing units, size of site, and value of existing uses on the property.  A reduction in land value in some cases may result in a current or future owner’s ability to access credit/financing and current and future redevelopment potential.

    Sites on the west side of Vancouver show a greater decrease in land values than sites on the eastside, since rental replacement is valued higher in those neighbourhoods of the City.  A smaller ratio of rental units per site size will have lower land value impacts. Even in the current context without rental replacement requirements, new development in these areas is only viable on sites with a small number of existing rental units where the redevelopment value exceeds the income value generated from the existing rental units and commercial retail space. 

    In some cases, the RHS ODP may encourage the development of 100% purpose-built rental housing through a 6 storey rezoning instead of strata housing on sites containing existing rental units. In other cases, the RHS ODP may prevent the demolition of existing rental housing, especially on sites containing a higher number of rental units.

    When will policy changes come into effect and how will current applications be affected?

    If approved by Council, enactment of the amended by-law will occur in early 2021.   To the extent possible, Staff will facilitate a smooth transition between the existing and amended regulations.   

    Staff's proposal is to "grandfather" in-stream development permit applications in C-2 areas of the city. These projects can continue to proceed under the existing Rental Housing Stock ODP, in which 1:1 rental replacement is not required. For rezonings, the proposal is to "grandfather" all projects which have already submitted a formal rezoning application, or a formal rezoning enquiry prior to the date this report is referred to public hearing.

    Does the RHS ODP protect commercial tenants?

    The RHS ODP does not apply to commercial tenants. 

    The Employment Lands and Economy Review is currently developing a long-range land use policy plan for commercial tenants to ensure an appropriate supply of land for businesses and jobs to support future economic growth.

    To learn more about this plan please visit: https://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/vancouver-employment-lands-and-economy-review.aspx

    How much rental has been lost to development in Commercial C-2 areas?

    Commercial zones have not seen a substantial loss of rental over the past 10 years compared to other areas of the city.   Approximately 77 units have been lost in C-2 zoning areas over the last 10 years due to strata redevelopment or renovations, while 497 units have been created in these areas  with the construction of new purpose-built rental housing.

    Gain and Loss of Market Rental Stock in Vancouver from 2009-2018

    Will there be more opportunities to provide my input?

    There are multiple ways to provide input: