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On March 5, Council considered public input and staff recommendations related to house conversions. Council voted to move forward to a public hearing to consider changes to house conversion regulations and related off-street parking regulations.

A list of the changes that are being considered are listed below. A copy of the report and a link to the webcast of the March 5 Committee of the Whole meeting can be viewed here.

In addition to the changes proposed below, the City will also be developing design guidelines for house conversions.

Once updated guidelines are in place, staff will monitor any impacts of the updated regulations and report back to Council within two to three years.

Changes being considered include:

  • Allowing houses constructed in 1984 or earlier to be converted into multiple units. This expands options for converting older homes and captures houses most likely to have larger floor areas.
  • Incentives for conversions that offer rental housing, affordable rental, affordable home ownership, and heritage designation by removing parking requirements and allowing more units per floor area.
  • Remove vehicle parking requirements for duplex and multiple dwelling house conversions.
  • The addition of bike-parking requirements to off-set reduced vehicle parking.
  • Allowing under-height basement and attic spaces to be developed, to increase the livable floor space for units.
  • Allowing vehicle parking in the front yard (for non-heritage buildings) to create more useable backyard space for residents of the building
  • Reducing restrictions for exterior changes to allow for new porches, decks and above-ground entrances and stairs.
  • Allowing windows and doors at the street front to allow for more flexible layouts of units.

Next Steps

A public hearing to consider updates to the Schedule G – House Conversion Regulations and Schedule C – Off-Street Parking bylaws to enact these changes is expected for June or July 2020.

More information on how to participate will be posted here once a hearing date is confirmed.

Members of the public may provide written feedback to Council in advance of the public hearing at publichearings@victoria.ca

Public Input

From December 2019 to February 10, 2020 City held a public feedback period and also consulted with the following stakeholders on the proposed changes:

  • The City’s Heritage Advisory Panel
  • The City’s Renters’ Advisory Committee
  • Community Association Land Use Committees
  • Urban Development Institute
  • Home Builders Association

Members of the public may provide written feedback to Council in advance of the public hearing at publichearings@victoria.ca

About the Project

House conversions can increase Victoria’s stock of rental housing and home ownership opportunities. Units in these buildings can include everything from studio apartments to larger multi-bedroom units suitable for couples or families.

Currently in Victoria many heritage-registered and heritage-designated homes are conversions.

House conversion regulations were originally introduced in the 1950s. Current regulations allow larger homes built prior to 1931 and some homes built prior to 1969 to be converted into multiple units. Since the regulations were first introduced, hundreds of units of housing in large older homes have been created.

By expanding the program, we can encourage the conversion of more of Victoria’s larger homes to accommodate the types of housing that people in Victoria need. This includes more rental housing, more affordable home ownership opportunities and more two-and-three-bedroom units.

Updating house conversion regulations is one of several housing initiatives we are undertaking to address housing and affordability in our community.

Learn more about House Conversions here.

For questions about the project, please contact the Development Services division at developmentservices@victoria.ca or 250.361.0382

Milestones

  • Public Hearing

    Expected for June or July 2020
    Public opportunity for comment of Council’s consideration of bylaw updates related to house conversions

  • Council Direction

    March 5 2020
    Council considered public input and staff recommendations related to house conversions and voted to move forward to a public hearing to consider bylaw changes.

  • Public Consultation

    December 2019 – February 2020
    Input from stakeholders and the public on proposed changes related to house conversions

Level Of Engagement

Learn more about the City's Engagement Framework here.

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