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An Overview of the New RS Duplex Zoning Changes for the City of Vancouver

An Overview of the New RS Duplex Zoning Changes for the City of Vancouver

In September, the City of Vancouver introduced new RS duplex zoning changes. What is this legislation and what does it mean? Today, we are going through the implications of the legislation, reviewing the advantages it offers you and the regulations you will now face.

What do the RS duplex zoning changes mean?


The RS in the zoning changes refers to the City’s low-density, single-family neighbourhoods. In the past, a maximum of three housing units were allowed on lots in these areas. These housing units included:

  • A primary residence
  • A secondary suite
  • And a laneway house

Now, with the new RS duplex zoning regulations, the maximum per lot is elevated to four, allowing for:

  • Two primary residences
  • Two secondary suites (one for each primary residence)

These zoning changes apply to 99% of the previously single-family properties in the City.

The implications of the RS duplex zoning changes


One of the first questions many homeowners have had is:

“Will be able to sell half of a duplex I build under the new zoning regulations?”

The answer is: yes.

This can make purchasing a lot a better investment – and can help you manage the cost of building a home in Vancouver. You may also have an easier time finding a home to purchase in low-density areas.

The RS duplex zoning changes are also ideal for relatives who have passed a lot down through the family. It makes it possible for these families to accommodate more than a single family on their one lot.

For those buying property now, a duplex could provide a way of splitting the cost of a lot and building a home with other family members. If cost is not an issue, a duplex could also allow individuals to provide housing for older relatives or adult children who cannot otherwise afford housing in the City.

Could the RS duplex zoning changes help with the City’s overall affordable housing crisis?


Of course, additional housing is always useful in the City right now. With duplexes going for at least $1 million to $2 million, however, the primary residences being built will likely be kept within families or bought up by individuals who are already on the housing ladder. Duplex owners who build and legalize secondary suites, though, may be able to offer apartments in areas with few rental options.

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