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Following the advice from BC’s Public Health Officer for social distancing and avoiding large groups, the City has decided to postpone all public engagement events until further notice. This includes any scheduled open houses, workshops, meet-ups, and the Mayor’s Community Drop-In.

Victoria needs to create more housing options, both for renters and homeowners. That’s why we’re updating regulations to expand opportunities for repurposing large, existing houses into multiple residential units.

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 reducing parking requirements and allowing more units per floor area.
  • 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

Staff will be providing an update report to Council at the March 5th, 2020 outlining the feedback received and providing recommendations for proceeding. A copy of the report, and a link to the livestream of the meeting can be viewed here

Public Input

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

While the consultation period has ended, you can still provide your feedback to Council at publichearings@victoria.ca

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

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.

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