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Housing Policies

Burnaby has defined a number of housing policies and programs to meet the community’s diverse housing needs and address, within the confines of its mandate and resources, the issues of housing supply and affordability. These policies and programs include the following:

Adaptable Housing Policy

An adaptable housing unit has features that can be easily modified to accommodate the changing accessibility requirements of residents over time. Burnaby requires adaptable design in new multi-family residential developments that are approved through the Comprehensive Development (CD) rezoning process. For most developments, at least 20% of the single-level units must have adaptable design; for purpose-built seniors housing, this percentage increases to 100%. As an incentive, the Burnaby Zoning Bylaw provides a 1.85 m2 (approximately 20 sf) floor area exemption for every adaptable housing unit.

Affordable Units Policy

This policy applies to newly developing communities on publicly-owned land, and seeks to obtain 20% of the new units for non-market rental housing. To date, the program has resulted in the development of 390 non-market housing units at Oaklands, George Derby, Cariboo Heights, and the former Burnaby South Secondary School site in the Edmonds Town Centre.

Deferral of Development Cost Charges and Permit Fees

This policy allows for the deferral of applicable City development cost charges and permit fees for non-market housing projects for a period of up to 24 months commencing from the time of final development approval. This policy helps defer costs early in the development schedule, during the difficult period prior to the generation of cash flow. View the policy »

Fast-Track Approvals Policy

This policy ensures that priority is given to processing applications for non-market housing during the development application review process. View the policy »

Flex-Suites Policy

The Burnaby Zoning Bylaw permits secondary suites in multiple family dwelling units in the P11 zone at UniverCity, a new urban village located adjacent to Simon Fraser University (SFU). Sometimes known as “lock-off units,” these suites provide affordable housing for both university students and others wishing to live near campus.

Group Home Policy

This policy supports community-based residential opportunities for citizens with special needs while ensuring that group homes are developed in a planned, balanced manner with adequate support systems. View the policy »

Rental Conversion Control Policy

This policy prohibits strata conversion of purpose-built multiple-family rental housing. Active since 1974, this policy has helped to preserve much of the purpose built rental housing stock that was built with federal subsidies between the 1950s and 1980s. View the policy »

Short Term Rentals

The City is reviewing regulations for short term rentals in Burnaby. A new regulatory framework was adopted by Council in July 2020, which will guide the development of the necessary bylaws to permit the use. 

This framework includes proposals to regulate and define the type of housing that would qualify as a short-term rental, the licensing required, the maximum rental nights per year and the number of occupants allowed. 

Bylaw amendments to permit the use are anticipated to be considered by Council later in the year. There will be public input opportunities as part of this process. Once adopted, a new business licence process would come into effect. Learn more »

Tenant Assistance Policy

This policy helps to protect tenants from displacement due to rezoning projects and is one of the most progressive in Canada. It requires rezoning applicants to help eligible tenants find a new place to rent and provide financial support with higher rent costs, as well as the costs of moving. Tenants also have the option to return to a rental unit at the rezoning site, at the same rent they were paying, once the redevelopment or renovation project is complete. This policy applies to multi-family buildings with five or more purpose-built rental units that are renovating or redeveloping to the extent that tenants will be displaced and rezoning is required. Meeting requirements of the Tenant Assistance Policy is a prerequisite to rezoning approval for all qualifying redevelopment proposals. Learn more »

Housing Fact Sheets

View our 14 topics related to housing in Burnaby.