House Conversions

Many zones in Victoria allow for house conversions. A house conversion allows an existing house to be converted into a different use, including multiple units. Conversions to the following are permitted:

  • duplex
  • multiple dwelling
  • boarding house
  • rooming house
  • rest home — class ‘B’

Permitted house conversions are dependent on the year the house was built and the existing floor area of the house. There are also certain restrictions on exterior renovations.

Regulation Changes

To create more housing options for renters and owners, in October 2020 the City updated housing the conversion regulations. These updates make it easier to convert houses to multiple units. A summary of key changes is as follows:

  • Houses built in 1984 or before are now eligible for conversion.
  • There are more opportunities to use the space within a building, such as attics and under height basements.
  • Restrictions on exterior changes have been relaxed.
  • Incentives and increased number of units permitted for buildings with heritage designation, rental units or affordable units.

Creating a House Conversion

  1. Check to see if your property is eligible for a house conversion. Review the rules of your zone by consulting the Zoning Regulation Bylaw. If you are unsure of your zone, you can look up your address of VicMap. The City’s Development Services staff can assist you in determining your home’s eligibility, including confirming the age of the house.
  2. Review the applicable bylaws and codes:
    1. Zoning Regulation Bylaw (Schedule G – Housing Conversion Regulations and Schedule C – Off-Street Parking Regulations)
    2. BC Building Code
  3. Apply for a Building Permit. Once you have confirmed that your property is eligible, you can apply for a Building Permit. Pre-application meetings are available to help you get your application prepared.Contact Permits and Inspections at 250.361.0342 or for more information.
  4. When all permits are in hand, you are ready to build.

If you are pursuing a heritage designation, a concurrent heritage designation process will take place. You can find out more about this process on the Heritage Conservation page.

If you are securing the units as rental or affordable, staff will work with you to create a legal agreement for this. You may require a lawyer to help with this process.

For questions about the house conversion regulations, you can reach staff by email or by phone at 250.361.0382.