Rental housing types in the Greater Vancouver
Area, BC Canada
Greater Vancouver offers a variety of accommodations
available for rent. The following categorization of rental units
is based on ownership, size and amenities.
- High-rise apartment buildings
Higher than 5 stories, reinforced
concrete buildings equipped with one or more elevators. The
whole building is usually owned and operated by a company that
may have several other buildings in the area. Most of the time
the company employs a resident building manager who is responsible
for showing, renting and maintaining apartments as well as collecting
There are over 200 high-rise rental apartment buildings, most
of them built between 1972 and 1985, in the West End area of
Downtown Vancouver and many single buildings located in other
Grater Vancouver areas.
High-rise apartment buildings are equipped with intercom systems
and security locks to prevent unauthorized access. Central heating
as well as hot and cold water are usually included in the rent.
Some high-rise buildings may have swimming pools, saunas, storage
lockers and other common use facilities. There is usually an
additional fee for underground or outside lot parking of about
$15 to $40 per month. Coin operated laundry facilities are usually
located in the basement of the building and are shared with
- Low-rise apartment buildings
One to five story wooden structure
buildings usually without an elevator. These buildings are often
owned by large companies or individual landlords and the building
manager may have more than one building to take care of. Central
heating as wells as hot and cold water are usually included
in the rent. Common use facilities are usually limited to extra
storage lockers and a coin operated laundry room.
- Condominium (Strata
Single apartment units in a high-rise,
low-rise or townhouse building owned by individual owners. Common
spaces like walkways, grounds and other facilities are shared.
Condominium owners often rent out their apartments if it is
allowed by the building strata committee. Condominiums are usually
'higher end' apartments, often furnished and containing a full
set of appliances. Hot water and underground parking may or
may not be included in the rent and if heating is electric the
cost will most likely be added to your Hydro bill.
As a tenant you will not have voting rights in the Strata community
but you can attend their meetings. You should also be aware
of and obey the rules and regulations that are described in
the Strata Bylaws.
- House for rent
Single, detached houses for rent
in Vancouver City are a rarity and can be quite difficult to
find. You may get luckier in some other cities within the Greater
Vancouver area. Be prepared for an extra scrutiny from the landlord
since marijuana grow-up operations are quite popular in BC and
lead to great property damage. All living expenses like heating,
water, natural gas, electricity and grass cutting will usually
become your responsibility.
- Apartment in a House for rent
Many of older, Victorian style ,
large houses were divided by their owners into two or more apartments.
Most of the time the apartments include a small kitchen and
separate bathroom but sometimes they have to be shared. Shared
laundry facility is also common. Houses like this may contain
apartments in the attic, main floor and basement.
- Basement suites
Bottom floor of a detached (usually
single family) house. Quite popular and more affordable than
independent apartments. Most of the time they have a separate
entrance and access to the laundry facilities.
Many of these secondary basement suites are referred to as 'illegal'
but despite the controversy surrounding single-family dwellings
being converted into obvious multiple family rental units in
all single-family areas, there is nothing illegal about them
as long as the suites meet basic safety and livability standards.
The city of Vancouver has even amended its rules and regulations
to allow residential properties to each have one ‘secondary’
Hot water will probably be included but you may have to pay
your electrical bill and heating expense.
- Co-op housing
Subsidized cooperative housing complexes
may have some apartment units assigned to rent out. Special
rules and involvement in the community may apply.
- Room for rent
Single room in a hotel, rooming
house or single family house. Kitchen, bathrooms and other facilities