Rental Use Zoning Policy

A new direction for the City in securing market and non-market rental housing at a range of rent levels

The Rental Use Zoning Policy provides more rental units, including non-market rental units, which provide rental options for low and moderate income households. The implementation framework has been designed to secure a long-term rental stock for the residents of Burnaby. 

This policy creates opportunities for new rental housing in Burnaby, and protects existing rental housing, by implementing rental use zones with specific rental requirements and incentives.

How does the policy work?

New multi-family residential rezoning in Burnaby now requires the inclusion of affordable rental units. These may be replacement rental units or inclusionary rental units, depending on the existing land uses and tenures. Applicants may also access additional rental floor area for inclusionary units, for which half of units can be rented at market rental rates and the other half at CMHC median rental rates. Applicants are also encouraged to add voluntary market rental units on sites with unused commercial density.

All replacement and inclusionary rental units will be zoned for rental use, to ensure that rental housing will be provided on these sites even if they are redeveloped in the future.

A protectionary measure is also a component of the framework. The protectionary policy involves rezoning existing purpose-built rental housing to rental zoning. This will protect existing rental units from being redeveloped to strata housing under prevailing zoning.

Policy framework 

The Rental Use Zoning Policy is organized into the following four streams:

Rental units must be replaced on a 1:1 basis. Tenants covered by the City's Tenant Assistance Policy will be offered right of first refusal for replacement rental units. 

Where does this apply?

  • Sites with purpose-built (non-stratified) multi-family rental buildings of five or more units that are being rezoned.
  • Current and future rezoning applications at any stage of the rezoning process.

How does it work?

  • Sites must provide 1:1 replacement of all existing rental units.
  • If this is less than 20% of the total market unit count, inclusionary rental units must be added to make up the difference.

What type of units will it create?

  • Replacement rental units must have the same number of bedrooms as the existing units.
  • Minimum size requirements for new rental units are set out in the Burnaby Zoning Bylaw.

What will the rents be?

  • Rents for replacement rental units must be set to existing rents for returning tenants, plus any annual increases permitted by the Residential Tenancy Branch between demolition and occupancy. For units without a returning tenant, rents must be set to 20% below CMHC market median rents.
  • Rents can be increased annually according to RTA maximums, but can be readjusted to 20% below CMHC market median rents when tenants change.

New multi-family developments must include below-market rental units, equal to 20% of the total market unit count. 

Where does this apply?

  • All residential or commercial sites in Community Plan Areas that are being rezoned to RM3, RM4, RM5, RM7 or P11e.
  • Current and future rezoning applications.

How does it work?

  • Sites must calculate 20% of the total market unit count and provide an equivalent number of rental units.
  • The 20% inclusionary requirement may include replacement rental units, where applicable.

What type of units will it create?

  • Inclusionary rental units can have a mix of bedroom types, as determined through rezoning.
  • Minimum size requirements for new rental units are set out in the Burnaby Zoning Bylaw.
  • If there is unused rental floor area density, optional rental units may be added. For every market rental unit added, an equivalent rental unit at CMHC median market rent will be required.

What will the rents be?

  • Rents for inclusionary units must be set to 20% below CMHC market median rents.
  • Rents can be increased annually according to RTA maximums, and can be readjusted to 20% below CMHC market median rents when tenants change.

Unused commercial density may be used for rental units.

Where does this apply?

  • Sites being rezoned with a commercial or mixed-use designation that includes C1, C2, C3, C8, C9, and/or P11e zoning.

How does it work?

  • For C1, C2, C3, and P11e designations, sites may add any number of voluntary rental units within surplus commercial floor space, provided that at
  • least 51% of the available floor area is used for typical commercial / office / retail / hospitality uses.
  • For C8 and C9 designations, any surplus commercial floor space may be used for rental units on the second storey or above, and density offsets
  • may be available if rents are set to 20% below CMHC market median rates.
  • Projects must meet any inclusionary rental requirements before adding voluntary rental.
  • Projects must first utilize all RM/RMs residential density available on the site, including bonus density.
  • Density offsets do not apply to voluntary rental units.

What type of units will it create?

  • Voluntary rental units can have a mix of bedroom types, as determined through CD rezoning.
  • Minimum size requirements for new rental units are set out in the Burnaby Zoning Bylaw.
  • At least 20% of units must be adaptable.

What will the rents be?

  • Rents for voluntary rental units may be set to market levels.
  • Rents can be increased annually according to RTA maximums and can be readjusted to market rents when tenants change.

Purpose-built rental will be zoned for rental use. 

Where does this apply?

  • All sites with 5 or more purpose-built rental units, across the city.

How does it work?

  • All non-stratified rental buildings will be rezoned to the corresponding rental zone (e.g. RM3 will be rezoned to RM3r).
  • Existing units will not be affected by this rezoning.

What will the rents be?

  • Rents and rental agreements for existing units will not be affected by this rezoning.

Notes

  • Sites will be able to apply for CD zoning when redeveloping and add other uses.
  • When redeveloping, sites may qualify for density offsets, and other streams of the Rental Use Zoning Policy may apply.

Development incentives

Density offsets are additional amounts of density, intended to offset the cost of providing non-market rental units.

  • This density can be used for market housing (strata or rental).
  • Density Offsets are available in RM3, RM4, RM5, RM7, C8, and C9 Districts.

Maximum density offsets

RM3 RM4 RM5 RM7 C8 C9
0.55
FAR
0.85
FAR
1.10
FAR
0.55
FAR
1.125
FAR
0.825
FAR

Parking is expensive to build and studies have shown that rental units have lower demands for parking spaces.

To reduce development costs, minimum parking requirements have been reduced for rental units to 0.6 spaces per rental unit, including 0.1 for visitor parking.

Rental units developed

The number of rental units developed under this policy will be tracked and reported to the public every two years.

Check back in December 2021.

Related links

Have questions?

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