Adding Missing Middle Housing and Simplifying Regulations in Low Density Neighbourhoods

Introducing "Missing Middle Housing" Expansion: Multi-Family Homes

The City of Vancouver is allowing the construction of multi-family homes containing 4-6 residential units on most RS-zoned parcels.

  • Standard parcels allow for 4 residential units, larger parcels allow for 6 residential units, and parcels designated for 100% rental housing allow for 8 residential units.

  • The Floor Space Ratio (FSR) for multi-family homes is 1.0 FSR.
Example: A 4,000 square foot parcel can have a building area of 4,000 square feet. (FSR represents the ratio of the building's floor area to the parcel's area.)

  • Owners will have various design options, including standalone buildings or courtyard-style structures, which can be constructed entirely above ground or with partial basement levels.

  • Parking space is not required but can be provided at the rear of the parcel.

  • This housing is aimed at families looking to purchase a family home, with an average residential area of approximately 1,000 square feet.

To mitigate potential land value escalation due to increased residential units and building area, applicants for multi-family housing will need to choose one of the following options:

  • Pay a fee (rate to be provided in June).
  • Provide 1 housing unit for sale below market price (BC Housing AHOP).
  • Provide 100% secured market rental housing (with an agreement).
More information regarding the fees for multi-family housing and Below Market Housing Options (BMHO) will be announced in June.

Simplified Zoning Regulations

The City is committed to standardizing all RS zones to provide clear information to applicants, enhance permit processing efficiency, and accommodate more new multi-family housing applications. Additionally, the City is exploring ways to encourage and support housing options that align with affordability and livability goals while advancing climate objectives.

To achieve these goals, the following changes are proposed:

  • Provide consistent regulations for building layouts, heights, uses, and floor areas.
  • Simplify complex calculations for height, floor area, and required setbacks with straightforward requirements.
  • Eliminate housing design guidelines and reduce the number of design specifications.
  • Allow all new building floor area to be located above ground (removing the ground-based restriction).
  • Reduce the Floor Space Ratio (FSR) for new buildings from 0.70 to 0.6. (FSR represents the ratio of the building's floor area to the parcel's area.)
  • Increase the FSR for laneway houses from 0.16 to 0.25.
  • Reduce the depth of basements from 5 feet to 4 feet.
  • Consolidate 9 RS zones into a single RS zone (achieved through the aforementioned changes).

To learn more about why the city needs missing middle housing you can watch this video.