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Old Vancouver bylaw restricts co-habitating, former councillor says

Last Updated Mar 11, 2019 at 7:39 pm PDT

(Courtesy Vancouver Heritage Foundation)

An old bylaw limits the residents of single family homes to just one family or three unrelated roommates

Affleck says most of the previous council didn't seem interested in changing the bylaw

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – As empty mansions begin to pop up on Vancouver’s rental market, a former city councillor says you may want to rethink your plans to rent one out with a bunch of friends.

George Affleck says an old bylaw limits the residents of single family homes to just one family or three roommates, unless they’re related.

“It’s very restrictive for co-habitating with a bunch of people, including students or people who are in need of affordable housing,” he says.

The bylaw dates back to 1956, and he says council has discussed the possibility of changing the bylaw multiple times.

Affleck adds changing the bylaw may add challenges to single-family neighbourhoods, but he thinks any issue can be resolved.

“The province is very focused on taxation as opposed to finding ways to change the existing regulations to loosen them up so that people can find affordable housing.”

RELATED: Is renting a mansion an affordable housing option for students?

He says most of the previous council didn’t seem interested in changing the bylaw, but he’s hopeful change can happen now.

“I don’t understand why taxation is put first, over lessening of bureaucracy.”

This comes as more large mansions have started popping up on the rental market after the city introduced an empty homes tax, penalizing homeowners who don’t live in their properties or rent them out.

Victoria and Surrey have much looser regulations on this, Affleck says. He suggests first changing the bylaw to what other cities have.

It may be time, Affleck says, “To loosen up these regulations and allow more people to live in homes that are essentially sitting empty or could handle a few more residents.”