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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.

Consultation on the proposed changes to the regulations is now underway.

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.

Public Input and Next Steps

The feedback period runs until February 10.

For questions about the project or to provide your feedback to Council, please contact the Development Services division at developmentservices@victoria.ca or 250.361.0382

The City will also be consulting 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

Next Steps

Feedback from stakeholders and the public will inform further revisions to the recommended changes for Council’s consideration later this spring. Staff may also bring forward a draft of the updated bylaw changes at the same time including amendments to the Zoning Regulation Bylaw Schedule G – Housing Conversion Regulations and Schedule C – Off Street Parking Regulations Zoning Regulation Bylaw.

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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