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BC Multiplex Legislation UPDATE

Updated: Feb 10

The provincial mandate to permit at least four dwelling units on a single-family lot and six units on a single-family lot near a transit centre is now law, but cities still have until June 30 to update their zoning bylaws. If you're looking forward to multiplex buildings and live somewhere other than in Vancouver or Victoria, you're still not permitted to build these additional units just yet.

simulated photograph of modern design fourplex, wood and stucco, summer trees blue sky

Below, I'll provide a little situation update for people who want to build multiplexes in British Columbia. In considering an investment in multi-family properties, it's important to understand the current state of the legislation. Contrary to reports by media and the conclusive tone of the Province of BC's own news website, new rules allowing the construction of single-family buildings are not yet in effect.

The key legislation in question is the Housing Statutes (Residential Development) Amendment Act, 2023 (formerly known as Bill 44), which changes the Local Government Act. This Amendment Act introduces "small-scale multi-family housing" (AKA multiplexes) and gives the province authority over additional dwelling units. The bill was debated during the fall, HAS passed Third Reading, and was given Royal Assent; so it is now law. However, the newly-amended Local Government Act simply mandates that cities over 5000 residents must establish new zoning rules by June 30, 2024, to permit these additional units.

simulated photograph of BC legislative chambers

Cities can implement new zoning regulations in advance of this, but until the Act is passed, these changes need public hearings. This waiting period does offer us an opportunity to research and plan for future developments.

In an earlier article (Does The BC Government's New Missing Middle Legislation Mean You Can Build Multiple Units?) about the newly introduced legislation for building multiplexes / houseplexes and other small-scale multifamily housing in single family lots across the province, I discuss the legislative process in greater detail. That phase is behind us, but now it's up to each city to make changes to its zoning bylaw.

photograph of an old man sitting near a large wall clock, wearing a yellow tailcoat, against a dirty aged yellow wall

If you want to know more about the zoning bylaw, you can read my article "PERMITS, Part 2: Planning and Development". While we wait for cities to update their zoning regulations - or for the June deadline to arrive - you can get a clearer picture of what your desired outcome is. The first step of my process is the Pre-Design Diagnostic Scan™. In this report, we identify desired project outcomes, basic performance targets, and major constraints to assess the project's preliminary feasibility. The subsequent R.A.D. Study™ further analyzes your requirements and the legislation involved. Click the button to below to book a Diagnostic Session - a free, 30-minute call with me, and I can show you the next steps.



The information included in this article is to an extent generic and intended for educational and informational purposes only; it does not constitute legal or professional advice. Thorough efforts are made to ensure the accuracy of the article, but having read this article, you understand and agree that Daniel Clarke Architect disclaims any legal liability for actions that may arise from reliance on the information provided in this article. Readers are recommended to consult with an architect before making any decisions or exercising judgement base on information in the article.



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