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Secondary suites : housing resource or problem, the Vancouver case Cheng, Lai-Sum Lisa 1980

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Secondary Suites: Housing Resource or Problem, the Vancouver Case by LAI-SUM LISA CHENG B.Sc, University of Hawaii, 1976 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILLMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS i n J THE FACULTY OF GRADUATE STUDIES School of Community and Regional Planning We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October, 19 80 0 LAI-SUM LISA CHENG, 19 80 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t the U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree t h a t the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t p e r m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be g r a n t e d by the Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department nf C o m m u n i t y a n d R e g i o n a l P l a n n i n g The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia 2075 Wesbrook P l a c e Vancouver, Canada V6T 1W5 O c t o b e r 1 5 , 1 9 8 0 i ABSTRACT Secondary suites i n single family houses have remained an i l l e g a l but prevalent form of housing i n Vancouver since 19 56 despite a number of p o l i c i e s implemented to deal with t h i s issue. In the absence of a po l i c y framework i t has been unclear what the impact of these p o l i c i e s have been or how they should be evaluated. This study presents an a n a l y t i c a l framework through which the issue can be better understood before policy options are explored and analyzed. The framework consists of, f i r s t l y , an analysis of the role of secondary suites i n the Vancouver housing scene; secondly, an assessment of the secondary suite "problem" i n Vancouver and how i t has been dealt with; t h i r d l y , an analysis of incidence of ef f e c t s of the secondary suite arrangement; and, f i n a l l y , a policy analysis model based on the preceding findings. The sources of information include published reports and s t a t i s t i c s , c l a s s i f i e d advertisements that are tabulated, interviews with informants who have been involved i n dealing with the secondary suite issue as well as informal interviews with about 50 people d i r e c t l y involved i n a secondary suite arrangement. Based on the understanding of the secondary suite issue, two basic p o l i c y orientations are i d e n t i f i e d . The f i r s t one i s to reduce the number of secondary suites i n the City while the second one i s to change the suites into an acceptable form of housing. The alternative means to implement these p o l i c i e s are i d e n t i f i e d and the co r r e l a t i o n between these means, the functions they can serve and the e f f e c t they have on the City's housing s i t u a t i o n and the secondary suite issue are outlined. It i s hoped that the findings w i l l be useful to planners i n formulating more e f f e c t i v e p o l i c i e s and to decision-makers i n deciding on the most appropriate solution for the City's secondary suite issue. i i i Secondary Suites: Housing Resource or Problem, The Vancouver Case Table of Contents Page I. Introduction •' 1 1. The Issue 1 2. Focus of the Research 1 3. Sources of Information 4 4. Definitions 5 I I . The Vancouver Housing Scene 7 1. Introduction 7 2. The Context 8 3. Who Needs Housing 9 4. Types of Housing 13 5. A f f o r d a b i l i t y I 7 6. Housing Assistance Programs 23 7. Summary 2 7 8. Conclusion 2 8 I I I . Secondary Suites i n Vancouver 29 £ 29 1. Introduction -q 2. Origin . . 3. Magnitude 3 0 4 . Locational D i s t r i b u t i o n 35 O Q 5. A c c e p t a b i l i t y J ° 6. Physical Condition of Secondary Suites 39 7. Rental Cost 4 0 8. Summary 4 2 9. Conclusion IV. Vancouver's Secondary Suite P o l i c i e s ^ 4 S 1. Introduction ~i 2. H i s t o r i c a l Overview 4 ^ 3. Zoning By-law 3.1 General 3.2 D e f i n i t i o n of Secondary Suites 4. General Level of Enforcement -*1 5. "Hardship" or "In-law" Suites Provision 5 2 6. Suite Legalization Under RS-1A Zoning 5 5 D i s t r i c t Schedule 6.1 The P l e b i s c i t e 6.2 The Intent of the RS-1A Zoning 6.3 Suite Legalization 7. Summary 6 0 8. Conclusion ^ 2 i v Page V. Incidence of Effects of Secondary Suite Arrangement 6 4. 1. Introduction 6 4 2. Homeowner And Renter 6 5 2.1 Advantages to Homeowner 2.2 Advantages to Renter 2.3 Disadvantages to Homeowner and Renter 3. Absentee Landlord VI 4. Neighbours and Neighbourhood 72 5. The City 75 6. Summary 77 7. Conclusion 79 VI. In Search for Solution 81 1. Introduction 81 2. Policy Orientations 81 2.1 Controlling the Number of Secondary Suites 2.2 Secondary Suites As an Acceptable Form of Housing 3. Summary 87 4. Conclusion 87 5. Further Research 88 BIBLIOGRAPHY 89 y L i s t of I l l u s t r a t i o n s Page 1. Population By Five-Year Age Groups and Sex, City of Vancouver, 1971 and 1976 11 2. Population Change By Age Group, City of Vancouver, 1971-1976 11 3. Percentage of Population Under 14 Years of Age By Major Municipalities i n G.V.R.D. 12 4. Basic Differences Between Single Family House and Apartments 14 5. Typical F i n a n c i a l Calculation for a Single Family House 19 6. 1976 D i s t r i b u t i o n of Households by Income Category i n 1976 Constant Dollar and the 30% Contributable to Housing 21 7. The Cost of Shelter to Households i n Vancouver, 1977 22 8. Assistance Programs Aff e c t i n g Renters and Home Buyers i n the City, 197 8 24 9. Relationship Between Assistance Offered by Housing Programs and the Needs of Households That Are Renting 25 10. The Number of Secondary Suites i n RS Zones i n the Rental Market 33 11. Locational D i s t r i b u t i o n of Secondary Suites B u i l t Before 1956 . 36 12. Locational D i s t r i b u t i o n of Secondary Suites Advertised i n the Vancouver Sun 37 13. Physical Characteristics of Basements i n Single Family House 41 14. Comparison of the Monthly Rental Costs of Apartments and Secondary Suites i n 19 77 4 3 15. People Interested i n the Secondary Suite Arrangement 6 8 y i Page 16. Correlation Between The Level of Secondary Suites Control and the Number of Secondary Suites i n the City 8 3 17. Correlation Between the A v a i l a b i l i t y and A f f o r d a b i l i t y of Housing and The Number of Secondary Suites In The City 83 18. The Impact of Suite Legalization Requirements on the Percentage of Legal Versus I l l e g a l Suites 85 V X l L i s t of Appendices 1. Application Form For Hardship 2. Results of Secondary Suites P l e b i s c i t e i n Areas Subsequently Rezoned to RS-1A 3. Notice to Residents On the Secondary Suite P l e b i s c i t e 4. Description of the RS-1A Zoning Provision Regarding the Requirements for Suite Legalization v i i i Acknowledgement I would l i k e to thank Mr. Pat Wotherspoon of Vancouver Planning Department for providing me with a l l the valuable information from City H a l l ; Prof. Henry Hightower for reading and commenting on my draft and Miss Vicky Ma for the long nights she spent typing t h i s paper. I am most grateful to Prof. Brahm Wiesman for his ever-ready support, i n s p i r i n g ideas, constructive criticism/, and most importantly, his continuous f a i t h i n my c a p a b i l i t y . I must acknowledge the work of my husband, P h i l i p , i n helping me with the eye-blinding task of tabulating the rental suite data from the Vancouver Sun c l a s s i f i e d advertisements. F i n a l l y , my deepest gratitude to him, his family and my family for t h e i r endless encouragement, support, understanding, patience and love which have enabled me to f i n i s h t h i s thesis. 1 I. INTRODUCTION 1. The Issue Shared accommodation i s a common phenomenon in most c i t i e s at any point i n time"'-. Vancouver i s no exception. Especially during the depression, additional suites were developed i n houses o r i g i n a l l y b u i l t for single family use to be occupied by additional families. Since the enactment of the Zoning By-law, th i s practice became i l l e g a l i n areas designated for single family use. However, Vancouver's City Council has been confronted with the dilemma of whether to take action against those i l l e g a l or secondary suites. On one hand, there was the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y to enforce the By-law. On the other hand, Council has r e a l i z e d the the City's l e g a l housing supply has not been adequately meeting the needs. So many have resorted to renting secondary suites. Throughout the years, Council has t r i e d to deal with the i l l e g a l suite problem by using p o l i c i e s ranging from attempts to remove a l l i l l e g a l suites the City was aware of, through the enforcement of the Zoning By-law, to the conditional approval of some. Since March 1977, secondary suites meeting City's physical standards can be leg a l i z e d on the basis of a five-year permit i f they are i n the few areas zoned RS-1A (defined l a t e r ) . However, despite these p o l i c i e s , the City's i l l e g a l suite problem remains b a s i c a l l y unchanged. Ontario Department of Municipal A f f a i r s , A Better Place to Live, Ontario, 1960. 2 2 . Focus of the Research What makes the i l l e g a l suite problem seemingly unresolv-able for so long? What has been attributable to the apparent ineffectiveness of the p o l i c i e s ? On what basis should they be evaluated? What are the other options i n dealing with the problem? To address these questions, the author believes that the issue has to be approached from a broad perspective. F i r s t of a l l , although these suites are i l l e g a l , they have been the form of housing for a great number of households. Why do they choose the suites i n spite of the i l l e g a l i t y ? What elements in the City's housing scene may have accounted for the existence of i l l e g a l suites? What i s the magnitude of the problem i n the City? What are the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of secondary suites? What type of posit i v e and negative roles was thi s type of housing playing or i s capable of playing? What do people actually l i k e and d i s l i k e about t h i s type of housing? Who are the parties involved that have c o n f l i c t i n g viewpoints? This study i s an attempt to explore the answers to these questions through examining the problem i t s e l f , i t s context, c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , incidence of e f f e c t s and how i t has been dealt with. Based on these findings, a policy analysis model i s developed i l l u s t r a t i n g the various means to implement d i f f e r e n t p o l i c i e s and t h e i r impact on the secondary suite issue as well as the housing s i t u a t i o n i n the City . 3 Chapter II i s an examination of Vancouver's housing s i t u a t i o n which i s the context i n which the i l l e g a l suites problem ex i s t s . The focus i s to i d e n t i f y elements which may have contributed to the existence of secondary suites and roles secondary suites have been playing i n the C i t y . Chapter III i s an analysis of the secondary suite problem i n Vancouver. Findings on i t s o r i g i n , magnitude, geographic d i s t r i b u t i o n , a c c e p t a b i l i t y among homeowners, physical charac-t e r i s t i c s , as well as r e n t a l cost are summarized. Chapter IV i s a general discussion of how the i l l e g a l suite problem has been dealt with. Following a b r i e f h i s t o r i c a l overview, past and present p o l i c i e s are examined separately. Chapter V i s an analysis of incidence of e f f e c t s of secondary suites to various parties involved including the homeowner owning the suite, renter of the s u i t e , neighbour and neighbourhood as well as the City i n general. F i n a l l y , based on the findings of the preceding chapters, a model i s developed i l l u s t r a t i n g two broad p o l i c y orientations and t h e i r e f f e c t on the City's housing s i t u a t i o n and secondary suite issue. It i s hope that this paper can contribute to our understanding of the secondary suite issue i t s e l f as well as the p o l i c i e s through which i t can be dealt with. 4 3. Sources of Information 2 Although evidence of i l l e g a l conversion of single family houses exists i n almost every major c i t y , only a few studies have been published on thi s subject. Among them are the ones carried out by Vancouver, Burnaby and Richmond. Since the focus of thi s paper i s on Vancouver, most of the raw data on p o l i c i e s are available from the Ci t y . Published and unpublished reports and newspaper a r t i c l e s are used extensively. The Vancouver report t i t l e d Housing  Conversion published i n 1975 provides much of the data on secondary suites. Mr. Pat Wotherspoon, the Planner responsible for d r a f t i n g the RS-1A zoning, and Mr. Norm MacCallan, the Housing Control Coordinator responsible for enforcing the Zoning By-law i n the Department of Permits and Licenses have been the prime informants with regard-to the e x i s t i n g p o l i c i e s 3 and l e v e l of enforcement. Local area Planners, RRAP Promoters , the Riley Park Citizens Planning Committee were interviewed on c i t i z e n s ' reaction towards certain p o l i c i e s . To i d e n t i f y the extent of secondary suites, the Vancouver Sun 4 2 Ibid. 3 O f f i c i a l s employed by the Planning Department to a s s i s t homeowners i n making use of the Residential R e h a b i l i t a t i o n Assistance Program. Their jobs provide them with frequent opportunities to inspect houses i n t h e i r neighbourhoods. 4 One of Vancouver's two major d a i l y newspapers. 5 c l a s s i f i e d advertisements on ren t a l units were tabulated. The student housing r e f e r r a l services of Langara Community College and University of B r i t i s h Columbia were also contacted. However, only U.B.C. had usable s t a t i s t i c s . In order to gain a further understanding on the nature of the secondary suite arrangement, more than 50 occupants of single family houses with or without secondary suites were interviewed informally. About half of them were members of the Riley Park C i t i z e n Planning Committee, 1/4 were U.B.C. students l i v i n g i n secondary suites and the rest were homeowners or occupants of secondary suites i n various parts of the City. Although i t was not a random sample and the sample size was r e l a t i v e l y small, the concerns and opinions expressed represented a Wide range of ideas and values. Further discussion with other c i t i z e n s and knowledgeable persons i n the community indicated that most of the major ideas had been covered by th i s sample. For the analysis of Vancouver's housing need i n Chapter II and investigation of the economic and s o c i a l implications of secondary suites i n Chapter V, l i t e r a t u r e on housing theories i s used. 4. Definitions Ci t y - the City of Vancouver. Council - the City Council of Vancouver. "doubling" - the use of dwellings designed for one household, by two or more households. "undoubling" - the elimination of extra household from dwellings designed for one household. "empty-nester" - middle-age couple or single person with grown children who have moved away from home. "lodger" _ one who pays a monthly rental to a household i n "boarder" exchange for accommodation. Meals may be included i n some incidents. secondary suite - dwelling unit or housekeeping unit i n a single family house representing a non-compliance with the zoning requirement for the zone. sleeping unit"* - one or more rooms equipped to be used for sleeping and s i t t i n g purposes a sleeping u: for cooking. housekeeping unit - nit containing f a c i l i t i e s 7 dwelling unit - s e l f contained housekeeping unit. household - a person or group of persons occupying one dwelling with or without lodgers. May consist of two or more families sharing a dwelling. NIP - Neighbourhood Improvement Program. RRAP - Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program. Zoning and Development By-law d e f i n i t i o n . 6 Ibid. 7 Ibid. g Census d e f i n i t i o n , S t a t i s t i c s Canada. 7 II. THE VANCOUVER HOUSING SCENE 1. Introduction The existence of secondary suites i n single family houses i s a well-known fact i n Vancouver. Why does t h i s type of "doubling-up", i l l e g a l i n most cases, exi s t even at times when there are vacancies i n multiple-family units? Could the secondary suites be the re s u l t of certain conditions i n the housing market? This chapter i s an attempt to answer the above questions by examining the Vancouver housing scene. Since a thorough assessment of such an i n t r i c a t e system i s beyond the scope of this paper, the primary emphasis w i l l be on analysing the City's housing s i t u a t i o n to determine the role of secondary suites. The factors examined include population c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , the types of housing required and a f f o r d a b i l i t y l e v e l as compared to the cost of housing. Government housing assistance programs available to Vancouver's residents as of 1978 w i l l also be discussed. The main assumption i s that people are attracted to the secondary suite arrangement because of i t s physical, s o c i a l and economic features which cannot be found i n other types of housing. Population s t a t i s t i c s i n this chapter were gathered from published reports such as Census Canada^ and the City's 2 Quarterly Review . Information on housing was primarily ^ Census, S t a t i s t i c s Canada, Ottawa. 2 A magazine published by the City's Planning Department on quarterly basis. 8 coll e c t e d from the Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, while information on housing programs was from government brochures and hand-outs. 2. The Context With the development of the Lower Mainland, the City gradually assumed the role of a central c i t y where most business and economic transactions take place. As a cause and e f f e c t , i t has the highest concentration of work places and population i n the province. The City's valuable assets such as the beautiful scenery and mild weather r e l a t i v e to the rest of the province and Canada also add to i t s attractiveness to people of a l l ages. As of 197 8, the only large undeveloped s i t e s that could be used for housing purposes are part of False Creek and part of Champlain Heights which would soon be b u i l t up. This implies that i f additional housing i s needed i n the City, i t w i l l have to come from d e n s i f i c a t i o n or redevelopment of e x i s t i n g land uses. Since most areas which have been designated for non-r e s i d e n t i a l uses tend to become increasingly unsuitable for r e s i d e n t i a l uses, such redevelopment w i l l l i k e l y occur primarily i n single family neighbourhoods. 3. Who Needs Housing Not unlike people elsewhere i n North America, residents of the City are highly mobile. In 1971, i t was found that only 47% 3 of the population l i v e d i n the same residence as i n 1966 . 3 Census, S t a t i s t i c s Canada, 1971. 9 That i s to say, although everyone was housed at any point i n time, more than h a l f of the 19 6 6 population were i n need of alternative housing at least once within that 5-year period. Generally, people consider moving when they f e e l that th e i r present place of residence i s no longer suitable for th e i r present or anticipated l i f e s t y l e , or when t h e i r f i n a n c i a l s i t u a t i o n changes. Examples of the f i r s t group are the young singles or couples moving away from the parent's homes to s t a r t l i f e on t h e i r own, couples s t a r t i n g to have children seeking more suitable accommodations for t h e i r growing needs; couples with or without children separating because of marital problems, newcomers to the City and "empty-nesters" 4 taking refuge from maintaining t h e i r family homes. Examples of the second group are couples enjoying increased income so that they can afford more luxurious housing; or families i n f i n a n c i a l d i f f i c u l t y which has forced them to move to less expensive housing. Some forms of housing such as the single family house may be more capable of accommodating changes i n l i f e s t y l e than others. However, i t s major drawback i s i t s high cost which prohibits many households from getting or maintaining a single family house. Failure i n meeting any of the d i f f e r e n t types of housing needs results i n some households l i v i n g under unsatisfactory condition or obtaining t h e i r housing outside the Ci t y , or a combination of both. 4 Quarterly Review, C i t y of Vancouver, Vol.4, No.l, p.7, 1977; Vol.2, No.4, p.13, 1975. 10 To gain further understanding of the City's housing needs, certain population trends should be noted. The 197 6 Census reported an increase of 6,800 households from 153,400 i n 1971 5 to 160,200 while the t o t a l population declined by 16,072 from 426,260 to 410,188 . This r e f l e c t e d a decrease i n median household size from 2.67 to 2.45. 7 Between 1971 and 1976, the number of family households i n the City dropped by 4.7% while the neighbouring municipalities were experiencing gains: 36,6% i n Richmond, 28.8% i n Surrey, g 15.5% i n North Vancouver D i s t r i c t and 6.2% i n Burnaby . According to the City's Housing Planner, only 31% of a l l house-holds i n the City consisted of families with children, and 70% 9 of such families had either one or two children . I l l u s t r a t i o n s 1 and 2 show that there was a decline i n the population below 25 years of age and those between the ages of 35 and 49 while there was an increase i n the young adult and senior populations. The percentage of population under 14 years of age i n the neighbouring municipalities was substantially more than that i n Vancouver (see I l l u s t r a t i o n 3). What had triggered the decline of family households i n Vancouver? Could t h i s be associated with changes that occurred i n the housing market? ^ S t a t i s t i c s Canada, 1976. 6 Ibid. 7 Households consist of a couple with or without c h i l d r e n or a parent with one or more c h i l d r e n . Q S t a t i s t i c s Canada, 1971, 1976. 9 Anne McAfee, l e c t u r e , School of Community & Regional Planning, University of B.C., 1976. I l l u s t r a t i o n 1: Population By Five-Year Age Groups And Sex, Cit y of Vancouver, 1971 and 1976. Source: City of Vancouver, Quarterly Review, A p r i l , 197 8. I l l u s t r a t i o n 2: Population Change By Age Group, City of Vancouver, 19 71-19 76. group 1971 population .... 1976 population change *- --•number v..i-> i 1 0-4: I15-24. .v..-:;;'.25-44:-;:v 45-64 24,425 58,780 77,800 107.310 100,415 57,525 18,815 48,345 - 74,985 312,985 95,600 -59,550 - 5,610 -10,435/ ?;-:i2,8is:<:n; 5.585 , - 4,815, , + 2,025 ' -23-97 -frJi <* ^ 1 7 . 7 5 ^ + * 5 ^ ~ J TOTAL 426,255 410,190 •16,065 Source: City of Vancouver, Quarterly Review, A p r i l , 1978. 12 I l l u s t r a t i o n 3 Percentage of Population Under 14 Years of Age by Major Muni c i p a l i t i e s i n G.V.R.D. Municipality Percentage of Population under 14 years of age Burnaby 35% Coquitlam 26% New Westminster 29% North Vancouver City 16% North Vancouver D i s t r i c t 26% Richmond 26% Surrey 29% Vancouver 16% Source: S t a t i s t i c s Canada, 1976 4. Types of Housing The 19 7 6 Census showed that detached single family house and apartments were the two predominant types of housing whic amounted to 44% and 47% of the entire housing stock respec-t i v e l y ^ . In other words, the City's housing stock had very few alternatives i n terms of housing type besides, the single family units and apartments. Tied to the above two forms of housing are d i s t i n c t differences i n terms of unit s i z e , type of tenure, physical setting and so on as shown i n I l l u s t r a t i o n 4. Households seeking dwelling units which can o f f e r them alternative combinations of the q u a l i t i e s of single family units and apartments are r e s t r i c t e d by the lack of choice open to them. Numerous studies have suggested that a c i t y should have f l e x i b i l i t y and d i v e r s i t y i n i t s housing stock. The "housing system must permit movement from one s o c i a l economical group to another within the same c i t y , or town and preferably within the same neighbourhood... (This) involves f l e x i b i l i t y between ownership and tenancy and f l e x i b l e f i n a n c i a l arrangement for new and e x i s t i n g development." H If d i f f e r e n t types of accommodations were provided, households would not have to move around so much as th e i r 12 needs change . Time after time, studies on the special C i t y of Vancouver, Quarter Review, Vol. 5, No. 3, p. 16, 1978. ^ Michael Audain, Housing S i t u a t i o n i n Vancouver, Vancouver, 1966, p. 31. 12 Catherine B. Wurster, "So c i a l Questions i n Housing and Community Planning", 1951, Urban Housing, New York, p.40. 14 I l l u s t r a t i o n 4 Basic Differences Between Single Family House and Apartments Single Family House - mostly owned - considered by many people as an investment . - more maintenance work for occupants - bigger unit size usually with two or more bedrooms - lower density (less than 10 units per acre) - more privacy between units - has ground orientation and private outdoor space - mostly i n family oriented neighbourhood - more widely d i s t r i b u t e d therefore more lo c a t i o n a l choice - pets and children are acceptable Apartments - mostly rented - rent paid i s income foregone - less maintenance work for occupants > - smaller unit size with no more than 2 bedrooms - higher density (over 25 units per acre) - less privacy between units - seldom has ground orientation and outdoor space - mostly i n areas close to commercial d i s t r i c t s and major a r t e r i a l routes - less choice i n location - pets and/or children are not welcome i n most cases 15 housing needs of families with children"*"^' ' , s e n i o r s 1 ^ ' , 17 handicapped had come to the conclusion that there should be a provision of as wide a variety and range of choice i n housing as possible. A comparison between the 1971 and 1976 census indicated that the number of apartment units had ri s e n by 15% or 12,120 units while the number of single family units had dropped by 7% or 5,550 units. The introduction of the Assisted Rental Program had further accelerated the increase i n the proportion of apartments i n the City's housing stock. Among the 1,141 Assisted Rental Program units b u i l t between 1976 and 1977, only 9% were Len Tenant, "Housing Families i n Vancouver", Quarterly Review, Cit y of Vancouver, January 1977. 14 Eliz a b e t h Kirby, Housing and The Family, Master Thesis, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1973. 15 Report of the Residential L i v i n g P o l i c y Committee, Greater Vancouver Regional D i s t r i c t , December 1973, p.15,20,27,39. Michael Audain, Beyond Shelter, Ottawa, 1968, p.59. S o c i a l Planning and Review Council of B r i t i s h Columbia, Handicapped  Housing Report, Vancouver, 1978. 16 18 2-bedroom units which are more suitable for families. While increase i n the supply of apartments can meet part of the growing demand for dwelling units, most of them are not suitable for families with children. The decrease i n the number of family units available contributed to the i r increasing cost which made them less and less affordable to many families. Some families have therefore decided to seek housing i n other municipalities while others take advantage of the secondary suite arrangement i n spite of i t s i l l e g a l i t y . The single family house has often been considered by 19 20 many households as i d e a l i n i t s e l f . ' I t offers far greater physical f l e x i b i l i t y and adaptability to s u i t 21 in d i v i d u a l preference than any other forms of housing (see I l l u s t r a t i o n 4). 18 Ibid, A p r i l , p.17, 1978. 1 9 L e s l i e Kennedy, Adopting to New Environment, Toronto, 1975, p.165. 2 0 Beck Roberts, User Generated Program for Lowrise Multiple Dwelling  Housing, Montreal, 1977, p.64. 21 William Michelson, Man and His Urban Environment, Toronto, 1970, p.100. Perhaps more important to those who purchase t h e i r home i s the b e l i e f that houses appreciate i n value over time. Some people who may actually be better o f f l i v i n g i n apartments rush into purchasing a house beli e v i n g that the value of t h e i r house may r i s e i n value at a more rapid rate than t h e i r income. By the same token, purchasing a single family house i s considered by many as a sound investment e s p e c i a l l y for those with just a modest sum of money available and don't want to bother with the complexity of other forms of investment such as stocks and bonds. Besides serving i t s functional purpose as a means of accommodation, r e a l property gives the owner the assurance of a tangible asset. However, many households are simply not able to afford to purchase a single family house, as shown i n the following section. The number of houses available for rent i s minimal. As a r e s u l t , many households are not able to l i v e i n single family houses even i f they want to. 5 . Af fordabi11ty Discussion of housing demand would be quite meaningless without making reference to housing costs since the form of housing people choose to l i v e i n i s often determined by housing costs r e l a t i v e to t h e i r a b i l i t y to pay. In terms of ownership, the average housing price i n the City i n the f i r s t quarter of 1 9 7 8 was $ 6 8 , 5 7 5 2 2 . I l l u s t r a t i o n 22 Greater Vancouver Real Estate Bureau (GVREB), November, 1978. 18 5 shows the t y p i c a l f i n a n c i a l arrangement at 11% i n t e r e s t rate 23 for a N.H.A. insured mortgage loan . A downpayment of $6,85 8 24 i s generally required, which i s 10% of the price of the house , and a monthly payment of around $6 80 for 25 years. This implies 25 that i f the formula of "30% of income for housing" i s used, an annual household income of over $27,000 i s needed i n addition to the downpayment. Furthermore, houses i n the City that are i n the sixty thousand price range are l i k e l y to be over ten years old. This suggests that the cost of maintenance over the years could be quite substantial. The cost of renting i s cheaper than owning but .  the types of housing i n the rental market are quite d i f f e r e n t from those 2 6 i n the sales market . In 1977, the average rental of a bachelor suite, a one-bedroom and a two-bedroom unit were $190; $227 and $342 r e s p e c t i v e l y 2 7 . The 1,141 u n i t s 2 8 b u i l t under the Assisted Rental Program that accounted for the majority of the newly constructed units cost much more. One-2 9 bedroom units were rented for $300 and up 23 A commercial bank, November 1978. 24 GVREB, February, 1978. 25 The commonly used cut-of f point for q u a l i f y i n g for housing assistance, Canadian Council on S o c i a l Development, A Review of Canadian  S o c i a l Housing Pol i c y , Ottawa, 1977, p.19. 26 See l a s t section. 27 GVREB, The Real Estate Trends, 1978, B7. 28 C i t y of Vancouver, Quarterly Review, Vol.3, No.2, 1976, p.11. 29 GVREB, The Real Estate Trends, 1978, B7. 19 I l l u s t r a t i o n 5 Typical F i n a n c i a l Calculation for a Single Family House Price: $68,575 (1978 Average, Multiple L i s t i n g Services) Mortgage Rate: 11% (N.H.A.) (November, 19 7 8) 11 1/2% (Conventional) Downpayment: $6,858 (10% of housing price) Amount Borrowed: $61,717 Amortization period: 25 years (interest compounded semi-annually) Monthly Payment: $59 3.42 Property Tax: $997.00 (Tax rate based on value of house) $83 per month Tax = Assessment X 15% X m i l l rate (0.094956 for 1979) $67 6.42/month Total Monthly Payment (Principal+Interest+Tax): $676.75/month To q u a l i f y for the mortgage, the gross household income has to be at least $27,070/year so that the payment does not exceed 30% of the income. 20 Data on household income i n the City i s extremely limited. Census taken aft e r 1971 no longer contains any income data and the only current source i s from a private company which has been taking a bi-monthly sample survey since 1972. As quoted by the City Planning Department, I l l u s t r a t i o n 6 shows the d i s t r i b u t i o n of households by income i n 1976 and the corresponding percentage of income contributable to housing. There were 26% of a l l households or 41,752 households which could not afford more than $200 per month for housing i n 1976. I l l u s t r a t i o n 7 explains the s i t u a t i o n from another dimension. According to the City's Housing Planner, of a l l households i n 1977, 33% were paying equal or more than 25% of t h e i r income on housing. Among those that were renting, 44% of the families with young children, 54% of seniors and 53% of a l l other households were paying more than 25% of t h e i r income 30 on rent . Homeowners were generally i n a better position with only 16% of families with young children, 17% of seniors and 4% of the other households paying over 25% of t h e i r income on housing. In summary, homeownership has been getting more and more costly while the cost of renting i s also skyrocketing. More than 1/5 of a l l households i n the City could not afford more 3.1 than $200 a month for housing i n 1976 . Between 44 to 54% of a l l households that were renting i n 1977 paid more than 25% of 30 25% i s used instead of 30% because of data constraints. See I l l u s t r a t i o n 21 I l l u s t r a t i o n 6 1976 D i s t r i b u t i o n of Households by Income Category i n 1976  Constant Dollar and the 30% Contributable to Housing. Income 30% of monthly: income Number of '. Households % of t o t a l 0 - 5,999 $ 0 - $150 28,836 18% ; 6,000 - 7,999 $151 - $200 12,812 8% 8,000 - 9,999 $201 - $250 16,020 10% 10,000 - 11,999 $251 - $300 20,826 1 3 % : 12,000 - 14,999 $301 - $375 24,030 15% 15,000 - 19,999 $376 - $500 20,826 13% 20,000 + $501 + 36,846 23% Total 160,200 : 1 0 0 % ; Source: City of Vancouver, Quarterly Review, Vol.4, No.4, 1977 p. 16. I l l u s t r a t i o n 7. The Cost of Shelter to Households i n Vancouver, 1977. 22 T. one r*»»»af 7*0 00>M*«* *7o £NCpm*f © N 1 Z 2 & . u>$&> too 5 eg, (67' Some «•/* ^3% 1 7 % C I S NO 6-/C -ft** 3,3 £>© 7*»S 54,384 households (33% of total) are paying more than 25% of income on housing Source: Ann McAfee, lecture, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 19 77. t h e i r income on rent while about 4 to 1.7% of the households that owned t h e i r homes were i n the same position. However, this description may d i s t o r t the picture without discussing the various government assistance programs that are currently available. 6. Housing Assistance Programs Housing programs offered to renters and home-buyers by the Federal, P r o v i n c i a l and Municipal government range from subsidies for housing production, guarantees of mortgage loans, delivery of income supplements to renters, to the provision of c a p i t a l and mortgage loans for homeownership. I l l u s t r a t i o n 8 highlights the major programs, t h e i r requirements and the type and amount of assistance offered as of 19 78. In general, the assistance provided by these programs f a l l s , far short of meeting the needs of those who have problems i n the housing market. The amount of assistance i s either i n s i g n i f i c a n t or there are l i k e l y to be program requirements that l i m i t t h e i r application. I l l u s t r a t i o n 9 attempts to show the gap between the housing needs of households that are renting and what has been offered by the 19 7 8 housing programs. Households renting t h e i r p r i n c i p a l residences i n the province can have a maximum of $100 a year tax c r e d i t or $8.30/month from RentAid. For many households, th i s i s l i t t l e more than a drop i n a bucket. The S.A.F.E.R. program offers more substantial assistance and i s more sensitive to rent a f f o r d a b i l i t y . However, t h i s program i s only available to I l l u s t r a t i o n 8. Assistance Programs A f f e c t i n g Renters s Home Buyers i n the Cit y (1978) 24 Nature of Assistance Program Sponsor Program C r i t e r i a Value"of Assistance Status Rent Aid Province - taxable income less than $10,000 - renters i n B.C. Maximum of $100 less 1% of taxable income Active S.A.F.E.R. Province Renters over 65 years of age 75% of the amout by which rent exceed 30% of t o t a l income, up to $175 Active Income Supplement . Home Purchase Assistance Grant S Loan Province Home buying families purchasing' homes for the f i r s t time at prices within the l i m i t set. $1,000 grant for new homes $5,000 2nd mortgage for new & older homes at p r e v a i l i n g NHA 'rates. Active Not many units are within the set p r i c e range Registered Home Owners Savings Plan Federal Renters who have never owned a home No tax on savings contributed to the plan towards home purchase. Maximum contribution of $1,000 a year up to $10,000 within 20 years (e.g. I f taxable income i s $10,000, tax savings i s $300) Active Subsidy for Housing Production A.R.P. Pr o v i n c i a l & Federal - developers of r e s i d e n t i a l projects of at lea s t 8 units - s i z e of units have to be within s p e c i f i e d maximum siz e l i m i t s - up to 1/10 of units should be a v a i l a b l e to the B.C. Housing Management Commission to be used for as s i s t e d renters i f prov. loan i s used. For every un i t b u i l t , $600 grant, $1,200 i n t e r e s t free loan for 10 to 15 years. Additional $1,200 i n t e r e s t free loan with i n t e r e s t decreasing by 1/10 per year for up to 15 years. I f project i s sold at a l o s t before the loans had been paid o f f , the unpaid' portion can be forgiven. Active Public Housing P r o v i n c i a l Federal Municipal - $47,000 or under units - low income families - seniors Difference between unit rent and 25% of income. 1,428 family units and 1915 senior units i n 1978, only a few units per year are being b u i l t ! Co-op Housing Province Non-profit housing groups. High impact grant up to 15% of cost of improvement to bring the cost down to an affordable l e v e l i n the f i r s t 10 years. 100% financing. 8% i n t e r e s t . Limited Non-profit Housing (Rental Housing Program for Seniors) Province Federal Non-profit society providing self-contained units for seniors over 65. - s i t e leased at nominal cost - grant, loan & subsidy for Construction & operation of low-rental u n i t s . l i m i t e d except for senior c i t i z e n units C a p i t a l & Mortgage A.H.O.P. Very l i m i t e d NHA Insured loan Federal Loan insurance Active I l l u s t r a t i o n 9 R e l a t i o n s h i p Between A s s i s t a n c e Of fe red by Housing Programs And the Needs of Households That Are Renting + \%poo •+- -L LEGEND RENTAID a v a i l a b l e f o r household w i t h income under $11,000 a t $8.30/month - I Households i n BCHM u n i t s Sen ior households e l i g i b l e f o r S . A . F . E . R . w i t h r e n t c e i l i n g a t $175/month 5 ^ S u b s i d i e s r e q u i r e d i f a l l r e n t a l households were to pay no more than 25% of income on housing Not i n c l u d e d are l a r g e r households which have to r e n t u n i t s b igger and more c o s t l y than 2-bedroom apartments . seniors. In the case of the Home Purchase Assistance Grant and Loan, the price c e i l i n g s on the houses e l i g i b l e means that i t would be unli k e l y for most houses to q u a l i f y . The Program provides $1,000 grants to the homeowner for homes that cost less than $50,000. Or a homeowner can q u a l i f y for a $5,000 second mortgage loan at NHA i n t e r e s t i f the home i s either new or e x i s t i n g , and costs less than $60,000.(B.C. Ministry of Municipal A f f a i r and Housing, Jan. 1978) . The ARP Program, on the other hand, only encourages the development of rental units rather than provides assistance to the housing consumers. It has been considered an i d e a l tax shelter and p r o f i t a b l e for the developers both i n the long and 32 short run . The only r e s t r i c t i o n on the rental rate for the units i s that i t must be no more than "market value" for the f i r s t year while the size of units are not bigger than those sp e c i f i e d by the program. I f the p r o v i n c i a l loan i s u t i l i z e d , up to 10% of the units must be made available to the B.C. Housing Management Commission to be used by assisted renters. In those cases, the Housing Commission w i l l pay the difference between the actual rent of the units and what the renters can afford. Therefore, the owners of the projects do not have to bear any extra costs. As a r e s u l t of the a t t r a c t i v e terms, there has been a considerable number of units b u i l t under t h i s program. However, these units are generally small i n size since the emphasis i s on numbers of units as opposed to 32 C i t y of Vancouver, inner C i t y Housing Workshop, 1977, p.25. ensuring a unit and bedroom mix related to need^. At the same time, the location of units i s often a function of where the investors own t h e i r s i t e s rather than the a v a i l a b i l i t y of 34 community services Assistance offered by the Public Housing, Co-operative Housing and Non-profit Housing Programs i s by comparison the most substantial. However, as they are most costly i n terms of the amount of assistance needed per unit, they tend to be affected by changes i n the p o l i t i c a l climate and government budgets. At present, very l i t t l e a c t i v i t y has taken place under these programs i n the City except for a few senior c i t i z e n projects. 7. Summary This chapter examined the housing s i t u a t i o n to determine the possible roles of the secondary suites. F i r s t l y , there i s a need for d i v e r s i t y i n housing type since households have d i f f e r e n t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s and housing requirements. However, the major types of housing available i n the City are limited to single family house and apartment. While there has been a decrease i n the average household s i z e , there are s t i l l reasons for many households, es p e c i a l l y those with children, to favour the single family house over the apartment. Yet the price i s high and the supply i s limited e s p e c i a l l y i n the rental market. 33 ' Ibid, p.24. 34 Ibid, p.24. 28 Secondly, there i s a problem of housing a f f o r d a b i l i t y when 33% of a l l households i n the City are paying more than 25% of th e i r income on housing. The government housing assistance programs are far short of meeting the needs. 8. Conclusion This chapter has shown that the City i s i n need of d i v e r s i t y i n the type of housing available e s p e c i a l l y those with attributes of the single family house. There i s also a need for assistance to homeownership as well as cheaper rental housing units. If secondary suites can provide alternative types of housing arrangement, extra income for homeowners and cheaper rental units for renters, t h e i r existence in-significant.. 29 III . Secondary Suites i n Vancouver 1 . Introduction While most people are aware of the existence of secondary suites, few knows how and when they come into being. Even less known i s the number of these suites that the City has at the moment or may have i n the future. This Chapter i s an attempt to look into the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the secondary suite issue i n the Ci t y . I t i s believed that such an understanding i s c r u c i a l to the formulation of e f f e c t i v e secondary suite p o l i c i e s . The topics to be examined i n this chapter include the o r i g i n and magnitude of the secondary suite issue, the l o c a t i o n a l d i s t r i b u t i o n of ex i s t i n g suites, i t s a c c e p t a b i l i t y among houseowners, the physical condition of the suites and the rent of e x i s t i n g suites. Due to the nature of the issue, data available are primarily limited to what i s available i n the City's Housing  Conversion Study, the Riley Park Housing Study and the Vancouver Sun C l a s s i f i e d advertisement tabulation undertaken by the author as well as the University of B r i t i s h Columbia Housing Referral Services s t a t i s t i c s . However, such data have outlined a few dimensions of the issue i n the City. 2. Origin The practice of having secondary suites i n e x i s t i n g houses i s hardly a present day phenomenon nor unique to Vancouver. It dates back a long time since people shared part of t h e i r 30 houses with others either out of courtesy and compassion or simply i n exchange for some benefits. However, th i s practice was made unlawful at times under certa i n j u r i s d i c t i o n s as rules and regulations on land uses were introduced. An example could be found i n Elizabethan England where an Act of Parliament i n 1592 prohibited the conversion of e x i s t i n g houses to multi-family dwellings."*" The underlying motives were the common concerns over health and orderliness. L i t t l e has changed since then as discussed i n Chapter IV. 3. Magnitude Due to the f l e x i b l e nature of the secondary suite arrangement, that i s , a secondary suite can be i n s t a l l e d or 2 removed with r e l a t i v e l y l i t t l e physical changes , the number of secondary suites i n any area may vary from time to time. However, i t i s important to get an idea on roughly how many suites there are i n the City to estimate how many households are and w i l l be affected by secondary suite p o l i c i e s . In the past few years, the City's suite p o l i c i e s have provided for the limited approval of some hardship and in-law suites, plus a few suites b u i l t before 1956, while the rest of the suites i n single family zone was s t i l l i l l e g a l under the Zoning By-law. Since many i l l e g a l suites were unreported, data on the actual number of ex i s t i n g suites have been very "'"Fred Bosselman et a l , The Taking Issue, prepared f o r the Council on environmental q u a l i t y , Canada 1975, p.66. 2 See Chapter IV Section 4.2. limited. The only documented estimates were those generated 3 by the City's Housing Convers1on study of 1975. The study revealed that the City was aware of 1,660 i l l e g a l secondary suites b u i l t before 1956 when the present Zoning By-law was adopted. Since these i l l e g a l suites had been i n existence before they were considered as unacceptable i n single family zone, they had been issued permits to remain for a limited time. Meanwhile, the number of e x i s t i n g duplexes or l e g a l two-family houses i n single family zones was 34. In other words, there were 1,694 two-household houses i n single family zones o f f i c i a l l y known to the City i n 1975. However, the survey had found that among the homeowners of the sampled 2.57% out of the City's 63,379 single family houses o f f i c i a l l y known as not. having suites, 8.3% admitted that t h e i r houses i n fact had suites. Projected to the entire single family housing stock, there could be at least 5,260 secondary suites i n single family houses the City was not aware of. The actual number of suites would l i k e l y be higher since some homeowners would not want to admit that there were suites i n t h e i r houses. Between 1962 and 1977, the Department of Permits and 4 Licenses had issued more than 3,000 hardship permits for secondary suites. The number had gone up to more than 4,000 3 The study was p r i m a r i l y a survey on the p h y s i c a l p o s s i b i l i t i e s and homeowner's desire for secondary s u i t e s . 4 Department of Permits and Licenses, 1977. For d e f i n i t i o n of hardship permit, see Chapter IV Section 5. by the end of 1978."" While not many homeowners or renters would apply or could qu a l i f y for such permits, the actual number of suites i n the City could be much higher. Pertaining to s p e c i f i c neighbourhoods, data was available for Riley Park. A 1977 background study submitted to i t s Neighbourhood Improvement Program Citizen's Committee indicated that 29.'4% to 40.6% of the 2,665 single family houses i n that neighbourhood might contain secondary suites. While 10.9% of them were l e g a l l y converted to rooming houses or duplexes, the remaining 18.5% to 29.7% or 492 to 792 houses could contain suites not known to the City. Riley Park i s just one of a few neighbourhoods where a high number of ex i s t i n g i l l e g a l suites are suspected. In attempt to generate more data on the secondary suites i n the City, the secondary suites l i s t e d on the l a s t weekend of each month of the Vancouver Sun c l a s s i f i e d advertisements were tabulated for six months between October 19 77 to March 1978.7 It was found that 461 of the 2,781 rental suites advertised were secondary suites (see I l l u s t r a t i o n 10). In other words, 16.6% of the rental units advertised on the L. Au Yeung, A. Lau, L. Cheng, Riley Park Housing Study, prepared for R i l e y Park Neighbourhood Improvement Program C i t i z e n Committee, 1977. 7 Every c l a s s i f i e d advertisement on "furnished" and "unfurnished" suites sections were scanned f i r s t to eliminate the ones which were obviously apartments. The addresses of the remaining ones, e i t h e r obtained d i r e c t l y from the advertisements or through checking the phone numbers on the Criss-Cross Telephone Directory, were checked on the zoning map. The ones located i n sin g l e family zones were considered as secondary su i t e s . 33 I l l u s t r a t i o n 10 The Number of Secondary Suites i n RS Zones i n The Rental' Market •October 1977-March 197 8 Secondary Suites Other Suites Total % of Secondary Suites October Furn. 21 94 115 ; 18.3% Unfurn. 54 361 : " 415 13.0% Total 75 455 ; 5 30 14.2% November Furn. 14 100 • 114 : 12.3% Unfurn. 52 324 376 : 13.8% Total 66 424 490 -: 13.5% December Furn. 16 95 : 111 14.4% Unfurn. 38 214 252 15.1% Total 54 309 363 14.9% J anuary Furn. 23 103 126 ' 18.3% Unfurn. 76 298 374 20.3% Total 99 401 500 19.8% February Furn. 28 91 119 23.5% Unfurn. 63 187 250 25.2% Total 91 278 369 24.7% March Furn. 19 119 138 13.8% Unfurn. 57 334 391 14.6% Total 76 453 529 14.4% Total Furn. Unfurn. Total 121 340 461 602 1718 2320 723 2058 2781 16.7% 16.5% 16.6% a. Data Source - Vancouver Sun c l a s s i f i e d ad. - Last Saturday of each month. - Suites i n sing l e family zones as shown on zoning map. - MOnths chosen to avoid summer changes i n market. 34 Vancouver Sun during the l a s t weekends of the six-month period were secondary suites. Applying t h i s percentage to the City's stock of rental units of 85,685 i n 1976 , there could be 14,224 secondary suites i n the City. In other words, 20.2% of the 9 70,555 single family units i n Vancouver could be having secondary suites i n them. The actual percentage of secondary suites i n the rental market could be higher as more vacant secondary suites than apartments tend to be advertised through other media. Among these media was the University of B.C. Off-campus Student Housing Referral Services. According to th e i r 1976 records, about 40% of the 4,332 l i s t i n g s could be secondary suites while another 40% were "lodging u n i t s " . 1 0 ' 1 1 In conclusion, the number of e x i s t i n g secondary suites i n the City could be at least 7,000, as revealed by the City's survey i n 1975 or as high as 14,224 as revealed by the c l a s s i f i e d advertisements. Therefore, the percentage of the City's single family houses containing secondary suites could l i k e l y be around 20%. It thus becomes quite clear that secondary suites have a s i g n i f i c a n t role i n the rental market, esp e c i a l l y i n terms of housing for university students. 8 C i t y of Vancouver, Quarterly Review, Vol.4, No.2, 1977. 9 Ibid. "^Units where cooking f a c i l i t i e s were not provided. The occupants might sometimes obtain boarding from the homeowners. Such units i n s i n g l e family houses could be l e g a l provided that the proper permits were obtained from the C i t y (see Zoning By-law). 1 1 U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Housing Referral Services, November, 1977. 4. Locational D i s t r i b u t i o n While data on the number of secondary suites i n the City are scarce, information on t h e i r l o c a t i o n a l d i s t r i b u t i o n i s even more limited. From the City's Housing Conversion study, the d i s t r i b u t i o n of the 1,660 suites b u i l t before 1956 with l e g a l permits i s shown on I l l u s t r a t i o n 11, These suites seem to be concentrated in the neighbourhoods of K i t s i l a n o , Riley Park, Sunset, Kensington-Cedar Cottage and Hastings-Sunrise. There were some i n the neighbourhoods of West Point Grey, Dunbar-Southlands, Arbutus-Ridge, Kerrisdale and'Renfrew Collingwood and almost none i n the rest of the City . I l l u s t r a t i o n 12 shows the d i s t r i b u t i o n of the secondary suites by neighbourhood tabulated from the Vancouver Sun c l a s s i f i e d advertisements as discussed i n the previous section. More than 10% of the t o t a l number of secondary suites advertised were concentrated i n each of the neighbourhoods of K i t s i l a n o , Riley Park, Kensington-Cedar Cottage and Renfrew-Collingwood. The neighbourhoods each containing 5-10% of the advertised secondary suites were South Cambie, Sunset, Grandview Woodlands and Hastings Sunrise. Although the rest of the City had fewer suites, the s t a t i s t i c s show that secondary suites did exis t i n every single family zone. Among the U.B.C. Housing. Referral L i s t i n g s , more than 60% were located i n the neighbourhoods of K i t s i l a n o , Dunbar-12 Southlands and West Point Grey. 1 2 U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia Housing Referral Services, Nov.1977. 37 I l l u s t r a t i o n 12: Locational D i s t r i b u t i o n of Secondary- Suites as Advertised i n the Vancouver Sun C l a s s i f i e d Advertisement, October 1977 to March 1978* 38 In summary, the available data indicates that secondary suites exists i n every single family neighbourhood although more frequently i n some than others. A thorough analysis of the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of each of those neighbourhoods i s needed i n order to i d e n t i f y the possible c o r r e l a t i o n between the ch a r a c t e r i s t i c s of a neighbourhood and the number of suites i t has. 5. A c c e p t a b i l i t y The 1975 Housing Conversion study included the only f u l l scale opinion survey done on the ac c e p t a b i l i t y of secondary suites i n single family houses. I t was based on a random . sample of 2.57% out of the 63,379 single family houses o f f i c i a l l y known as not having suites and 4.6% out of the 1,694 duplexes or single family houses with suites. I t found that out of those who responded, only 8.6% of a l l the homeowners would l i k e additional suites i n the i r houses to be 13 permitted by zoning. However, 36.5% of the homeowners would 14 l i k e suites be allowed i n t h e i r area. The study f a i l e d to provide any explanation on why a large number of homeowners would l i k e suites be allowed i n t h e i r area but not i n t h e i r own homes. The author believes that homeowners were more hesitant to answer yes to the f i r s t question for fear of being i d e n t i f i e d , e s p e c i a l l y when t h e i r response would be recorded on maps, while they f e l t more comfortable answering the second question. 13 C i t y of Vancouver, Housing Conversion Study, p.23. 14 Ibid., p.28. 39 In February, 1976, a p l e b i s c i t e was conducted i n Cedar Cottage, K i t s i l a n o and Grandview Woodlands, where a large number of e x i s t i n g suites were suspected. It asked whether the homeowners would l i k e secondary suites of a certain physical standard to be permitted by zoning. It found that 69.23%, 51.35% and 41.37% of the homeowners i n those areas 15 respectively were i n favour. However, as discussed i n Chapter IV Section 7.1, the response might have been biased by the way the p l e b i s c i t e was conducted. In summary, the majority of the homeowners i n Cedar Cottage and K i t s i l a n o wanted suites to be l e g a l i z e d i n the City. It would be in t e r e s t i n g to f i n d out the reasons for the objection of those who- - -opposed and whether they might favour other forms of suite l e g a l i z a t i o n . 6 . Physical Condition of Secondary Suites To determine the adequacy of secondary suites as a form of housing, the condition of single family houses should be examined. The City's Housing Conversion study found that among the homeowners who want to be allowed to have a suite i n t h e i r 16 house, 85.6% would prefer to have i t i n the basement. Therefore, the physical p o s s i b i l i t y of i n s t a l l i n g suites i n single family houses mainly l i e s i n the physical c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of t h e i r basements. The most important factors commonly considered are the basement's height, size 15 C i t y of Vancouver, Planning Department Report, 1976. ~ ^ C i t y of Vancouver, Housing Conversion Study, 1975, p.32. 40 and depth below grade. I l l u s t r a t i o n 1~3 shows the d i s t r i b u t i o n of the basements of the 1,051 houses surveyed i n the study according to t h e i r height, depth below grade and s i z e . In 1974, Council approved a set of minimum standards for additional dwellings i n basements. They must have a minimum size of 400 square feet, minimum of 7.5 feet c e i l i n g height and maximum of 2.5 feet below grade. Based on these standards, a l l houses surveyed had the required s i z e , 72% had the required 17 height but only 29% were less than 2.5 feet below grade. Assuming that the houses sampled were a true random sample would imply that 71% of a l l the single family houses i n the City did not have basements which could s a t i s f y the grade requirement. 7. Secondary Suite Rent Data on the rent for secondary suites was only available from the tabulation of Vancouver Sun c l a s s i f i e d advertisements and the Riley Park study (see Section 2). Not a l l of the Vancouver Sun c l a s s i f i e d advertisements spec i f i e d the rental for the secondary suites. Among those that provided such information, the price range for bachelor suites was $100-$190, 1-bedroom units was $150-$250, 2-bedroom units was $150-$280 and 3-bedroom units was over $200 per month between October 1977 and March 1978. C i t y of Vancouver, Housing Conversion Study, 1975, p.36. 41 I l l u s t r a t i o n 13. Physical Characteristics of Basements i n Single Family House i 4-0* •z. fH... A ft 0 ? 1 b* ! <? I 1 9 1 I 4f l (1 r m I 1 1? 41 2- b 11 1 \« I I! I 1 fit 1 I rt \« i $ i f 1 0 9. <f i i 1 Is l! \ ft i y f \o \o 9 Qi =£-1 tr-\ o o % -V Ci o <»-I \ Ci O x— \ 1 -V Cj Ci o Or-<§ 1 0 A' ¥? 0 \(fl 0 ii 0 Wteut&tf- Weft <W 4UL0mt ;Hrt:f SIZE: 400 sq. f t . : 100% CEILING HEIGHT: 7.5 f t . : 72% GRADE: 2.5 f t . : 29% Source: City of Vancouver, Housing Conversion Study, p.37. For Riley Park, data gathered from the Red Door Rental 18 Agency l i s t i n g s revealed that during July to December 197 6, 19 the average cost for a housekeeping room was $90, shared accommodation was $96, a 1-2 bedroom secondary suite was $215 and a 3-4 bedroom secondary suite was over $300 per month. Comparing the monthly rental with the average for 20 apartments , secondary suites i n general seemed to be less costly than apartments as shown i n I l l u s t r a t i o n 14. Although only a r e l a t i v e l y small percentage of the secondary suites i n the City had been sampled, the fact that data from two fundamentally d i f f e r e n t sources did correspond with each other indicates that such information may be s i g n i f i c a n t . 8. Summary The findings i n this chapter indicated that secondary suites seemed to be a s i g n i f i c a n t part of the Vancouver housing stock. It was estimated that i n 1976, there could be 7,000 to 14,000 secondary suites i n Vancouver, or more than 20% of Vancouver's single family houses had secondary suites. They could be found i n every neighbourhood but more frequently i n some than others. These suites accounted for a high percentage of the housing available to university students. 18 One of the biggest non-profit housing r e f e r r a l agencies i n Vancouver. 19 See D e f i n i t i o n Section i n Chapter I Section 5. 20 Greater Vancouver Real Estate Bureau, Real Estate Trends, 1978, p.B7. I l l u s t r a t i o n 14 Comparison of the Monthly Rental Costs of Apartments and Secondary Suites i n 1977 Type of Unit Mean Apartment Cost (1978)* Seconary Suite cost range Vancouver Sun Riley Park Bachelor suite or housekeeping unit or shared accommodation $195 $100 - $190 $ 93 1-bedroom $250 $150 - $250 $215 2-bedroom $330 $150 - $280 3 or more bedrooms — $300 + $300 + Source: Greater Vancouver Real Estate Bureau, Real Estate Trends, 1978, p.37. The City's survey and p l e b i s c i t e i n 19 7 5 and 19 7 6 concluded that the majority of the homeowners did not favour the l e g a l i z a t i o n of suites under the format proposed by the City. But we do not know whether the homeowners would favour other forms of l e g a l i z a t i o n . In terms of physical condition, most secondary suites can s a t i s f y the City's requirements on unit size and c e i l i n g height. But they are l i k e l y to be at a deeper grade than recommended. F i n a l l y , i t was found that the average rent for the samll sample of secondary suites was lower than the average cost of simi l a r size apartment. 9. Conclusion This chapter has shown that secondary suite has indeed been playing an important role i n Vancouver's housing scene. It has penetrated every neighbourhood i n the City. However, most homeowners i n 1975 did not favour the l e g a l i z a t i o n of these suites. Meanwhile, i t was found that while most basements of the single family houses can accommodate a suit e , many might be at a deeper grade than the standard used by the City. As far as rent goes, data has indicated that many secondary suites were indeed more affordable than the average apartment of comparable size. IV. Vancouver's Secondary Suite P o l i c i e s 45 1. Intro due t i p n Vancouver's City Council has been trying to deal with the secondary suite issue for a long time. Yet i n spite of the e f f o r t , the issue remains b a s i c a l l y unresolved. This chapter i s a review of the City's past p o l i c i e s and action directed towards secondary suites i n an attempt to i d e n t i f y elements which may have been the cause of t h e i r apparent shortcomings. Findings from the previous chapters w i l l be used to aid i n this process. It i s believed that learning the lessons from the past i s es s e n t i a l to i d e n t i f y i n g p olicy directions for the future. This chapter w i l l begin with a h i s t o r i c a l overview of past and present secondary suite p o l i c i e s . Each policy w i l l then be examined separately. 2. H i s t o r i c a l 0ve'r view Since the enactment of Zoning By-law No. 3074 i n 1956 and l a t e r No. 3516 i n 1957 ou t l i n i n g requirements and d i s t r i c t s i n which one, two and multiple unit housing were permitted, houses with more than the permitted number of units for that d i s t r i c t became i l l e g a l . However, there was l i t t l e enforce-ment action taken when the By-law was f i r s t put into e f f e c t . In the 1940's, shared accommodation was encouraged by the Federal Wartime Order 200. It was not u n t i l 1955 that Council decided to curb the number of i l l e g a l suites. The present Zoning and Development By-law No. 3575 was passed i n June 1956. In the following year, Council adopted a p o l i c y to permit the retention of i l l e g a l suites that were b u i l t before June 1956 provided that they were at least of f a i r physical condition. However, i n August I960, as a r e s u l t of a strong representation by property owners, council decided to remove a l l i l l e g a l suites from RS-1 Zones within ten years. Between 19 60 and 1968, about 2,100 suites had been physically removed. Meanwhile, the large number of cases involving immediate r e l a t i v e s sharing the same house or the owner or tenant experiencing hardship were brought to the attention of Council. In 1964, Council ordered the Building Inspector to withhold enforcement action i n these cases. After Council had dealt with the cases d i r e c t l y for a few months, this r e s p o n s i b i l i t y was l a t e r delegated to the Hardship Committee consisting of.a few members of council as well as s t a f f from Department of Permits and Licenses and Planning. Due to the housing shortage i n 1966, suite permits issued for 10 years i n 19 56 that were to expire were extended for one year. This moritorium had been extended on four subsequent occasions with the l a s t one expiring i n December 1974. In June 1973, Council directed a S t a f f Committee representing the Law, Finance, Permits and Licenses and Planning Departments to consider the proposal for promoting the creation of additional l i v i n g accommodations i n private homes. Council followed the Committee's recommendation on continuing the "hardship" and "in-law" suite provisions but not on granting discretionary power to the Technical Planning Board to permit li m i t e d conversions anywhere i n the City. This matter was l a t e r referred to Council Committee on Community Development. This Committee subsequently held a public meeting i n February 197 4 to discuss the e x i s t i n g i l l e g a l suite p o l i c i e s . I t then recommended a test p l e b i s c i t e i n four areas where a large percentage of suites existed i n order to obtain public reaction to the l e g a l i z a t i o n of sui t e s . In December 1974, Council decided to order a thorough study on the matter p r i o r to the p l e b i s c i t e . The report Housing  Conversion on the physical p o s s i b i l i t i e s and homeowner's desire for suites i n single family house i n single family zone was completed i n March 197 5. In June of the same year, Council followed i t s recommednation and instructed the Planning Department to carry out a p l e b i s c i t e on secondary suites i n parts of the RS-1 zones i n K i t s i l a n o , Cedar Cottage and Grandview-Woodland. Of the 2,390 homeowners e l i g i b l e to vote, only hal f of them did. Early 1976, after the r e s u l t of the p l e b i s c i t e had been reported to Council, the Planning Depart-ment was ordered to explore rezoning p o s s i b i l i t i e s to permit secondary suites i n the two sub-areas i n K i t s i l a n o and Cedar Cottage where l e g a l i z a t i o n was favoured by more than 60% of the homeowners who had voted. After the report was submitted to Council, Public Meetings were held i n both areas. The RS-1A Zoning D i s t r i c t was o f f i c i a l l y established for these two areas replacing the o r i g i n a l RS-1 zoning i n March 15, 1977^"" ^ Information i n t h i s section was excertps from Planning Department reports, Department of Permits and Licenses reports as well as the Housing  Conversion Study, 1975. 48 Meanwhile, action taken against i l l e g a l suites i n the City regardless of whether they were i n the RS-1A zone continued to be on the basis of r e f e r r a l and complaint. This l e v e l of enforcement, the "hardship" and "in-law" suite provision, the RS-1A zoning as well as the Zoning By-law w i l l be discussed separately i n the following sections. 3. Zoning By-law 3.1 General The Zoning By-law has been the rule of the "land use game" i n the City since 1928. The objective of the By-law i s to ensure that the l i v a b i l i t y and aesthetic quality of the City are maintained at an acceptable l e v e l . To achieve t h i s objective, the By-law regulates the type, size and bulk as well as the use of land and structures. Such regulations have a d i r e c t bearing on the s o c i a l structure of the City and the d i s t r i b u t i o n of population. By d i v i d i n g the r e s i d e n t i a l d i s t r i c t of the City into d i f f e r e n t zones, neighbourhoods with d i f f e r e n t population density and l i v i n g environment are created providing residents with a choice on the type of neighbourhood they want to l i v e i n . In theory, families with children are expected to l i v e i n single family houses i n single family zones, while singles and couples are expected to l i v e i n apartments i n the multiple family zones. However, housing and population c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s have changed over time. As discussed i n Chapter I I , the average household size has diminished. A f f o r d a b i l i t y usually dictates the type of housing a household can l i v e i n . While many households who desire single family houses cannot afford them, those who can. \. may not need a l l the space these houses o f f e r . As a r e s u l t , the population density i n single family zones has decreased while the demand for housing i s actually increasing as the t o t a l number of households i n the 2 City increased . The average household size i n single family 3 houses had decreased from 3.6 to 3.4 between 1961 and 19 76 . The City's o v e r a l l household size had decreased from 4.5 i n 1956 when the present version of the Zoning By-law was enacted to 2.45 i n 1976 4. According to the Zoning By-law, increasing housing demand i s to be absorbed by increased density i n the areas zoned for multi-family use or by rezoning areas from single family to multiple family use. These areas would then be redeveloped to accommodate many times the existing number of housing units. In most cases, single family houses would be replaced by apartments since they y i e l d the greatest land value compared with other types of r e s i d e n t i a l units. This kind of redevelop-ment not only d r a s t i c a l l y a lters the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the neighbourhood, i t also reduces the City's stock of single family houses. Secondary suites i n single family houses i n single family zones were not permitted by the Zoning By-law when i t was drafted. Yet they have always been a part of the City's 2 3 4 ' ' S t a t i s t i c s Canada, 1956-1976. 50 housing stock. I t would be d i f f i c u l t to assess the extent to which they had adversely affected the l i v a b i l i t y and aesthetic quality of the City. Secondary suites i n single family zones have the poten t i a l of using e x i s t i n g housing i n meeting some of the housing needs as i d e n t i f i e d i n Chapter II without seriously a f f e c t i n g the population density and l i v i n g environment of these neighbourhoods. Perhaps i t i s timely to reassess whether the Zoning By-law should be revised instead of focus on eliminating the secondary suite "problem". 3.2 D e f i n i t i o n of Secondary Suite Under the City's current Zoning By-law, a secondary suite i n a single family house i n a single family zone i s not permitted unless i t has either the "hardship"or"in-law" suite permit or the development permit for leg a l suites i n RS-1A zone. On the other hand, a portion of the same house can be sublet to 1 or 2 "lodgers" i n the form of "sleeping units''^. Technically speaking, there i s l i t t l e difference between the two arrangements. An average house often has a portion of i t such as the basement that can function quite independently with i t s own l i v i n g area, one or two bedroom, a bathroom, wall cabinets, a door which opens to the outside, and a sink of some kind or at least a laundry basin. Many households also keep a second r e f r i g e r a t o r i n this area. Up to t h i s point, this portion of the house i s s t i l l a "sleeping unit". However, i f a working stove i s added to this unit, i t becomes a 5 See D e f i n i t i o n , Chapter I Section 5. "housekeeping u n i t " u or secondary suite which i s i l l e g a l . This implies that a secondary suite can be created or removed r e l a t i v e l y e a s i l y by i n s t a l l i n g or removing a stove. Indeed, some homeowners may have t h i s type of suites i n t h e i r house without renting i t . In such cases, i t i s nevertheless a v i o l a t i o n of the Zoning By-law unless a permit has been obtained for the set of cooking f a c i l i t i e s referred to as the "summer-kitchen". Legally, i t i s therefore possible for a homeowner to have two "lodgers" l i v i n g i n his basement but i t w i l l be i l l e g a l to do so once a separate set of cooking f a c i l i t i e s i s provided. Yet the impact of the two situations on the homeowner, the tenants and the neighbourhood are almost i d e n t i c a l . 4. General Level of Enforcement The Department of Permits and Licenses, while responsible for enforcing the Zoning and Building By-laws, has not been ordered to inspect every exi s t i n g house to check for non-compliance with the single family zoning regulations. The on-going policy i s that the Department only considers those suspected v i o l a t i o n s which have been brought to i t s attention. Therefore, i l l e g a l suites are either accidentally discovered by public inspectors of various departments or are reported by c i t i z e n s . After the i l l e g a l i t y i s confirmed, each case i s referred to the Council's Housing Committee. The homeowner involved either has to remove the i l l e g a l suite within 30 days or apply for a "hardship" or "in-law" suite permit. I f neither 6 ~ ~ Ibid. i s done, the homeowner w i l l be subject to a fine of $50 per 7 day while the suite i s i n existence up to a maximum of $500. This type of voluntary reporting system has no r e l a t i o n to the number and physical condition of the secondary suites i n the City. Many i l l e g a l suites i n poor physical condition or having s i g n i f i c a n t negative impact on the neighbourhood may be undetected while others o f f e r i n g viable l i v i n g conditions may have to be removed because they are discovered. While the complaint system does provide a basic means to protect the neighbours from some undesirable suites, at the same time, i t may be used by some c i t i z e n s as a means of serving t h e i r personal i n t e r e s t s . For example, a person may report the i l l e g a l suite because of d i s l i k e for a neighbour. Such a p o s s i b i l i t y may foster undesirable suspicion among neighbours. 5. "Hardship" or "In-law" Suites Provision Since 1960, Council had been trying to remove a l l secondary suites from single family zones. However, since 1964, Council started to withhold action against "hardship" and "in-law" suites. It was c a r e f u l l y noted i n a Department of Permits and Licenses report that "Council had not granted approval nor taken any steps that would l e g a l i z e accommodation g that was i n contravention of ex i s t i n g City By-law". C i t y of Vancouver, zoning By-law. 8 C i t y of Vancouver, Department of Permits and Licenses report, May 22, 1969. 53 Q u a l i f i c a t i o n for the "hardship" suite proyision i s based on either the health or f i n a n c i a l needs of the owner or the tenant while the "in-law" or "parent" suite provision i s for cases when the suite i s rented to the parents or children of the homeowner. 9 There had been about 3,40 0 cases dealt wxth f i r s t by Council i t s e l f and l a t e r by the Council's Hardship Committee from 1964 to 1977. The number of applications received i n 1978 was over one thousand. About 76% of these cases were approved while the suites i n the rest of the cases had to be removed. Rejected cases due to lack of proven hardship could be appealed to Council d i r e c t l y for reconsideration. The normal application procedure for owners or tenants i s to complete a d e t a i l application form available from the Departmentof Permits and Licenses specifying t h e i r assets, income and expenses (Appendix 1). This form should then be signed before a notary public. The completed and c e r t i f i e d form i s evaluated by the Hardship Committee to determine whether the applicant can q u a l i f y for hardship. No fee i s required for such an application. The hardship cut-off used by the Committee i s established by S t a t i s t i c s Canada for that year whereby families spend 62% or more of t h e i r gross income on food, shelter and clothing. A medical c e r t i f i c a t e i s required for proof of health needs while recognized forms of C i t y of Vancouver, Department of Permits and Licenses S t a t i s t i c s , 1978. 54 i d e n t i t y are needed for proof of rel a t i o n s h i p for "in-law" suites. If approved, a permit w i l l be issued to occupy or own the suite, "and i s v a l i d for six months to one year. The permit may be renewed i f necessary. Property tax i s normally not affected. Since the permit i s issued to the i n d i v i d u a l , i t i s t h e o r e t i c a l l y not transferrable. However, i f the hard-ship permit i s issued to the tenant, the ownership of the house can change without a f f e c t i n g the permit. Thus, having a suite with a tenant who has a v a l i d "hardship" permit can be considered as a valuable asset i n case of resale of the property. On the other hand, the tenant cannot use the permit to occupy another suite. This hardship policy i s b a s i c a l l y an interim solution to deal with those who cannot afford not to have the suite i n the absence of other forms of public assistance. Thus, the hardship permit becomes the "monopoly" of the poor. Many people who f i n d secondary suites a viable housing alternative cannot l e g a l l y have access to them simply because they do not have excessive f i n a n c i a l constraints. Meanwhile, the secondary suites permitted under t h i s policy are not subject to regular safety standards unless the suites are obviously hazardous. Although the permit i s issued only because the tenant cannot afford other forms of housing, the rent r e l a t i v e to the condition of the suite i s not considered by the City i n i t s approval. This i s perhaps based on the common b e l i e f that secondary suites are always cheaper than other forms of 55 accommodation. In summary, under this policy, only the poor i s e l i g i b l e to l i v e i n secondary suites. Since these people cannot afford anything better, they can l i v e under questionable safety condition regardless of whether the rent i s reasonable. 6. Suite Legalization Under RS-1A Zoning D i s t r i c t Schedule In January 1976, a p l e b i s c i t e on homeowners' desire for suite l e g a l i z a t i o n was carried out i n sub-areas of the RS-1 zones of K i t s i l a n o , Cedar Cottage and Grandview Woodlands where the existence of a large number of e x i s t i n g suites were suspected. Subsequently, part of Cedar Cottage and a small area of K i t s i l a n o where over 60% of the homeowners had voted for suite l e g a l i z a t i o n were rezoned RS-1A (see Appendix 2). 6.1 The P l e b i s c i t e Some aspects of the p l e b i s c i t e need to be discussed. F i r s t l y , the renters, some of whom may have l i v e d i n these neighbourhood for a long time, were excluded from the p l e b i s -c i t e . Secondly, there were several factors which might have influenced how the homeowners voted: - In the memo ci r c u l a t e d to a l l residents i n K i t s i l a n o , a sentence read "either everyone should be allowed to have an extra suite i n t h e i r house or no one should" (Appendix 3). This might be interpreted to mean that every house would have a suite i n s t a l l e d i f suites were legalized. Many people might find a few suites accept-able but not the "doubling-up" of the entire neighbour-hood. 56 - Accompanying the memo was a description of the zoning change specifying the minimum physical standards for suites permittable under the new zone (Appendix 4). Homeowners with houses, esp e c i a l l y those already containing i l l e g a l suites, which could not meet the standards would l i k e l y object to this zoning change although they might favour other forms of suite l e g a l i z a t i o n . Furthermore, the memo also noted that "the r e s u l t i n g vote ... be plotted on an area map to give a v i s u a l representation of the o v e r a l l r e s u l t to City Council." Homeowners with e x i s t i n g suites might fear that the Council might discover th e i r suites i f they had voted i n favour. - Not described i n the memo was the owner-occupier requirement for houses applying for suite l e g a l i z a t i o n . In an area which was already su f f e r i n g from the negative effects of absentee ownership, the residents would fear that l e g a l i z i n g the suites would further accelerate t h i s trend. These are just some of the factors a f f e c t i n g the vote which cannot be overlooked. 6.2 The Intent Of the RS-1A Zoning According to the Planning Department, the intent of the rezoning was: a. to stimulate the provision of reasonable q u a l i t y , reasonable cost accommodation within e x i s t i n g houses and make them accessible to a wide range of individuals seeking rental housing. b. to preserve the single-family character of the areas by means of allowing only one additional suite per dwelling and r e s t r i c t i n g the creation of suites to single family residences e x i s t i n g p r i o r to the date of enactment of the zoning change. c. to promote and strengthen resident ownership within the area It was hoped that the rezoning could also r e c t i f y the long standing i l l e g a l aspects pertaining to the e x i s t i n g secondary suites. The homeowners could then make use of the e x i s t i n g 11 12 R.R.A.P. and P r o v i n c i a l Conversion Loans to upgrade the suites. To protect the neighbourhood, the City t r i e d to ensure that there would be no absentee landlords by a r e s t r i c t i v e covenant requiring the homeowner to l i v e i n the house which contains the suite. Meanwhile, the tenant of the suite must have at least one o f f - s t r e e t parking. Furthermore, no suite b u i l t after March 31, 1977 would be l e g a l i z e d . This was to prevent builders from deliberately building secondary suites i n new single family houses. This was the f i r s t time that e x p l i c i t p o l i cy goals were defined. It was also the f i r s t time that the p o s i t i v e aspects of secondary suites were recognized. However, whether the policy could achieve these goals remained a question. "*"<"> C i t y of Vancouver, Planning Department report to Council, November 19, 1976, p.2. 11 12 ' See D e f i n i t i o n , Chapter I, Section 5. 58 6.3 Suite Legalization A homeowner with secondary suite b u i l t before March 31, 1977 may have i t leg a l i z e d omder the RS-1A zoning provi-sion. He has to submit to the Department of Permits and Licenses d e t a i l drawings of the alterations needed to i n s t a l l the suite i n order to obtain a Development Permit. Also required i s a Building Permit and drawings of the f l o o r plan of the a l t e r a t i o n . Other plans are needed i f the outside dimensions of the house are altered. While the permits are being processed, the house has to be inspected for compliance with safety and health standards. At least one o f f - s t r e e t parking space i s required for the additional suite. A f i v e year r e s t r i c t i v e covenant on owner occupancy has to be signed between the owner and the City. In most cases, a property t i t l e search i s needed p r i o r to the signing of the document. Upon approval and suite i n s t a l l a t i o n , property tax i s adjusted to r e f l e c t the improvements. Meanwhile, the enforcement of the Zoning By-law continues to be only on the basis of complaint and r e f e r r a l . Despite promotion and public meetings, homeowner's reactions towards the suite l e g a l i z a t i o n provision have been far from enthusiastic. Between March 1977 and February 1978, there were only 30 applications f i l e d . The prime motive behind about 20 of these applications was to q u a l i f y for the R.R.A.P. while the rest of the applications involved r e l a t i v e l y new houses which e a s i l y met the required physical standards. The l e g a l i z a t i o n of secondary suites i s perhaps most ess e n t i a l to the owners and tenants of the suites i n 13 eliminating the disadvantages of such an arrangement . The tenants are further protected by the physical standards imposed on the suites. The required o f f - s t r e e t parking space w i l l minimize the chances of tenants competing for on-street parking spaces. The owner-occupancy requirement can also minimize much of the nuisance associated with suites owned by absentee landlords. However, such regulations as imposed under RS-1A zoning may at the same time be a deterrent i n discouraging houseowners: from coming forward to have t h e i r suite legalized. B a s i c a l l y , areas rezoned to RS-1A were those where a large number of secondary suites already e x i s t . While a homeowner who wishes to i n s t a l l a new suite may be able to follow the physical standards and provide the drawings and plans required, i t i s much more d i f f i c u l t for someone to do the same thing for an ex i s t i n g suite. Furthermore, i n l e g a l i z i n g one's suite, the owner has to pay a number of fees and his house i s subject to a r e s t r i c t i v e covenant which may even a f f e c t the resale value of the house. When there i s no disincentives for homeowners not to l e g a l i z e t h e i r secondary suites, such as a s t r i c t e r enforcement of the Zoning By-law, many homeowners w i l l forego the chance of having t h e i r suites le g a l i z e d . If the majority of the homeowners with e x i s t i n g suites do not have t h e i r suites legalized, the tenants and the 13 See Chapter IV Section 3. 60 neighbourhood w i l l not have the b e n e f i t of the new zoning p r o v i s i o n . Whi le most homeowners who wish to i n s t a l l s u i t e s i n e x i s t i n g houses have a l ready done s o , i t i s understandable t h a t a p p l i c a t i o n s f o r s u i t e l e g a l i z a t i o n have been m i n i m a l . Thus, d e s p i t e the p o s i t i v e i n t e n t o f the p o l i c y , i t s e f f e c t i s l i m i t e d . 7 . Summary A b r i e f h i s t o r y of secondary s u i t e s and how they have been d e a l t w i t h were examined i n t h i s c h a p t e r . I t was found t h a t Vancouver has never been w i thout secondary s u i t e s r e g a r d l e s s of what types of land use p o l i c y there were. A f t e r the enactment of the Zoning B y - l a w , t h e i r e x i s t e n c e has been regarded as a problem s i n c e they have been i n c o n t r a v e n t i o n of the B y - l a w . Al though C i t y C o u n c i l had t r i e d to e l i m i n a t e them, such campaigns were c a l l e d o f f when i t was r e a l i z e d t h a t the C i t y would not be ab le to p rov ide enough a l t e r n a t i v e forms of r e n t a l accommodation to house those d i s p l a c e d by the removal of the s u i t e s . Meanwhi le, a c t i o n was taken a g a i n s t on ly those cases t h a t were brought to the a t t e n t i o n of C o u n c i l on the b a s i s of compla in t and r e f e r r a l . This l e v e l o f By - law enforcement i m p l i e d t h a t the e x i s t e n c e of the m a j o r i t y of the s u i t e s was i g n o r e d . S p e c i a l permi ts v a l i d f o r a l i m i t e d p e r i o d of t ime have been i s s u e d to those s u i t e s tha t were e i t h e r b u i l t be fo re the enactment of the Zoning By -law or occupied or owned by people who q u a l i f i e d under the " h a r d s h i p " or " i n - l a w " s u i t e p r o v i s i o n . The p o l i c y to l e g a l i z e suites under the RS-1A zone was the f i r s t one to recognize that secondary suites could be a permanently adequate form of housing. Looking at each policy i n d i v i d u a l l y , i t was apparent that there was room for re-revaluation or improvement. For the Zoning By-law, i t s long term e f f e c t on population d i s t r i b u t i o n should be re-examined. Since the enactment of the By-law, the size of households l i v i n g i n single family houses has been getting smaller because of the changing population trends. Meanwhile the pressure for higher density r e s i d e n t i a l develop-ment has been increasing due to the increase i n the number of households. Although the secondary suite arrangement contravenes the Zoning By-law, i t has provided accommodation for new households i n e x i s t i n g single family neighbourhoods without d r a s t i c a l l y changing the character of these neighbour-hoods. While the secondary suite arrangement was i l l e g a l , i t was not too d i f f e r e n t from,technically speaking, the lodging arrangement permitted by the Zoning By-law. It would be timely to reassess the By-law i n the context of the chang-ing housing and population trends. In terms of the enforcement of the Zoning By-law on the basis of complaint and r e f e r r a l , i t was i n e f f i c i e n t since i t was p o t e n t i a l l y subject to abuse when people could use i t against t h e i r neighbours. Meanwhile i t had l i t t l e e f f e c t on safeguarding the community's well-being. The "hardship" or "in-law" suite provision permitted the poor and r e l a t i v e s of homeowners to rent or be tenants of secondary suites but not others who might f i n d the secondary suite arrangement a t t r a c t i v e . L i t t l e regard was given to the l i v a b i l i t y and r e n t a l of the suite i n considering whether i t was to be approved. As for the suite l e g a l i z a t i o n provision i n the RS-1A zone, i n spite of the p o s i t i v e objectives, the way i t was implemented had hampered i t s effectiveness. While the policy had provided the proper avenue for homeowners to l e g a l l y i n s t a l l secondary suites, the d i r e c t and i n d i r e c t costs involved for homeowners to have e x i s t i n g suites l e g a l i z e d were simply not worth the gain. This could be the major reason why the p o l i c y f a i l e d to gain any s i g n i f i c a n t support. 8. Conclusion This chapter has presented an analysis of how secondary suites have been dealt with i n the City. The findings demonstrated that for a long time, secondary suites had been considered as a problem because i t contravened the Zoning By-law. The fact that i t might not be i n c o n f l i c t with the objectives of the By-law was not acknowledged. Consequently, past p o l i c i e s had been focused on resolving the "problem" i n i s o l a t i o n . F i r s t , the City t r i e d to remove the suites but had to stop when there was a problem i n housing those people being displaced. Then the limited enforcement of the Zoning By-law and the issuing of "hardship" and "in-law" suite permits merely implied that the existence of the majority of the suites was ignored, creating other problems i n the meantime.:. The suite l e g a l i z a t i o n policy under the RS-1A zoning provision was the f i r s t one which recognized the po s i t i v e aspects of secondary suites. However, there were problems i n the administration of the po l i c y . Homeowners were reluctant to have t h e i r suites legalized under the formula proposed. Thus, the issue of secondary suites has remained unresolved. 64 V. INCIDENCE OF EFFECT OF SECONDARY SUITE ARRANGEMENT 1. Introduction The general feelings towards secondary s u i t e s 1 seem to be characterized by ambiguities. Most people can name a few advantages for secondary suites, yet at the same time name as many disadvantages. Some of the homeowners surveyed during the City's housing conversion study indicated that they were against suite l e g a l i z a t i o n , yet they actually had a suite i n 2 their own basement . In most cases, attitudes are found to be influenced by the extent and nature of a person's involvement i n the secondary suite s i t u a t i o n . This chapter outlines basic advantages and disadvantages of the d i f f e r e n t parties involved, namely the homeowner, renter, neighbour, neighbourhood as well as the City i n general. It i s believed that p o l i c i e s can be successful only when the advantages and disadvantages of d i f f e r e n t parties are properly accounted for. For the purpose of t h i s discussion, i t i s assumed that the basic land use regulation i s the Zoning By-law with no special provision for secondary suites. Since the RS-1A zoning only affects a very small percentage of the single family houses i n the City, i t i s not considered i n this chapter. Informal interviews with about 50 people d i r e c t l y involved i n a secondary suite arrangement, Vancouver, 1976-1978. 2 C i t y of Vancouver, Housing Conversion Study, Vancouver, 1975, p.8 and p.28. 2. Homeowner and Renter 2.1 Advantages to Homeowner As discussed i n Chapter II, there are many people who favour owning and l i v i n g i n a single family house. Compared to other forms of housing, i t i s probably physically capable of accommodating the greatest d i v e r s i t y of l i f e styles and giving the owner the greatest degree of freedom. However, part of this r i g h t has been removed by land use regulations. Since 1956, homeowners i n an area zoned for single family use under the Zoning By-law do not have the ri g h t to rent part of t h e i r house to another household. Yet many homeowners have continued to do so even though they have to l i v e under the fear of being discovered. In analysing the motives of those homeowners, three aspects have been i d e n t i f i e d . F i r s t l y i s the a v a i l a b i l i t y of "non-essential space" within the house. Studies have found that families are eager to f u l f i l l t h e i r housing need much i n 3 advance of the time when family size increases , es p e c i a l l y those families which see owning a single family house as an 4 investment . At the same time, more and more houses are b u i l t to the maximum size allowed by zoning. According to the Real Estate Board, more than 80%^ of the single family houses b u i l t 3 Peter Rossi, Why Families Move, 1955, p.72. 4 See Chapter II Section 4. 5 . Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, Vancouver, A p r i l , 1978. i n Vancouver since 1975 are of the "Vancouver Special" s t y l e or v a r i a t i o n of i t . The second aspect i s the potent i a l f i n a n c i a l return offered by the secondary suite. There are homeowners who actually depend on the income from t h e i r suite 7 8 to lighten t h e i r mortgage burden ' . There are also seniors with limited income who prefer to remain i n t h e i r own family 9 home for as long as possible . These homeowners and others i n sim i l a r f i n a n c i a l position may f e e l that t h e i r need for an extra source of income i s greater than the personal use of a l l the space i n t h e i r home. By giving up a recreation room or an extra bedroom to be rented out as a suite , they can raise money for essentials such as mortgage payment and maintenance expenses or less essentials l i k e an annual vacation. As homeowners, they can s t i l l maintain substantial control over the i r property. They can return the suite to t h e i r own use without much d i f f i c u l t y when they choose to do so. By comparison, renting a suite i s a less r e s t r i c t i v e means of ra i s i n g money than having a second mortgage or a reverse mortgage plan, since no major binding commitment has to be made. The t h i r d aspect i s a desire to a s s i s t or be close to the tenant(s) to whom the suite i s rented. These may be the ^ A rectangular shape house usually with a 6-room f l o o r plan of about 1,000 square feet on the main f l o o r and a f u l l - s i z e walk-in (at grade) basement with maximum set coverage permitted by zoning. 7 Ontario Department of Public A f f a i r s , A Better Place to Live, Ontario, 1960, p.25. 8 Interviews with homeowners with s u i t e s , 1976-1978. 9 . . "' , ," , Anne Davis, A Home Equity Dissavings Program For E l d e r l y Homeowners, 1977, p.2. parents, married children, r e l a t i y e s or friends of the homeowner. Because of the close re l a t i o n s h i p between the owner and the tenants, there i s l i k e l y to be co-operation and tr u s t between themselves. There may also be mutual assistance i n the carrying out of households routines. I t i s probable that t h i s s i t u a t i o n occurs frequently among new immigi~ants whose need for support from close friends and r e l a t i v e s i s most c r i t i c a l when they are struggling to adjust to a new 9 10 environment . Another probable s i t u a t i o n i s that of elderly homeowners who want to rent the suite to someone i n order to have other people i n th e i r house. They tend to f e e l more secure when they know there are people close by i n case of emergencies. In summary, the greatest advantage to the homeowner i s the freedom to exchange the use of part of the house for something his household needs more of and regain i t when his need changes. This f l e x i b i l i t y thus enables him to better coop with changes i n his housing need. A more detailed analysis of the type of people attracted by the secondary suite arrangement i s shown i n I l l u s t r a t i o n 15. 2.2 Advantages to Renter Besides being a t t r a c t i v e to homeowners, what makes the secondary suite arrangement possible i s that i t i s also 9 The author i s aware of at l e a s t 30 of such cases i n various parts of the C i t y . However, no formal survey has been conducted. HOMEOWNER Y o u n g C o u p l e w . o r w / o Y o u n g C h i l d r e n - l o w o n c a s h , h e a v y f i n a n c i a l o b l i g a t i o n - l o w s p a c e r e q u i r e m e n t - h a s ' - e n o u g h e q u i t y f o r d o w n p a y m e n t - s e e s h o m e o w n e r s h i p a s a n i n v e s t m e n t - d e s i r e s t o f u l f i l l h o u s i n g n e e d i n a n t i c i p a t i o n o f f u t u r e i n c r e a s e i n f a m i l y s i z e a n d h o u s i n g c o s t - d e s i r e s f o r f a m i l y a t m o s p h e r e a n d p r i v a c y ; c l o s e t o w h e r e o n e w a s b r o u g h t u p M i d d l e A g e C o u p l e w i t h G r o w n C h i l d r e n  W h o H a v e L e f t H o m e - l o w s p a c e r e q u i r e m e n t - v a l u e s e x t r a c a s h - v a l u e s f a m i l y h o m e S e n i o r - l o w s p a c e r e q u i r e m e n t - v a l u e s f a m i l y h o m e - n e e d s a d d i t i o n a l i n c o m e t o c o v e r r i s i n g m a i n t e n a n c e c o s t - n e e d s c o m p a n y ; i f p o s s i b l e , s o m e o n e t o h e l p w i t h t h e h o u s e h o l d c o r e A r r a n g e m e n t 68 RENTER Y o u n g S i n g l e - l o w o n c a s h - l o w s p a c e r e q u i r e m e n t - d o e s n o t m i n d s h a r i n g - d e s i r e s t o m o v e a w a y f r o m h o m e b u t w a n t s s i m i l a r s e t t i n g - h i g h p r i o r i t y f o r l o c a t i o n , e s p e c i a l l y t o b e c l o s e t o b u s l i n e , s c h o o l o r w o r k C o u p l e W i t h o u t C h i l d r e n - d e s i r e s f o r f a m i l y s e t t i n g - n o t r e a d y f o r h o m e p u r c h a s e C o u p l e W i t h C h i l d r e n - e x p e r i e n c e s d i f f i c u l t y i n g e t t i n g u n i t t h a t a l l o w s o r i s s u i t a b l e f o r c h i l d r e n - b u I L d i n g e q u i t y f o r h o m e p u r c h a s e - d e s i r e s f o r g r o u n d o r i e n t a t i o n a n d f a m i l y s e t t i n g S i n g l e P a r e n t w i t h C h i l d r e n - ( s e e C o u p l e W i t h C h i l d r e n ) - l o w o n c a s h S e n i o r a r i d / o r H a n d i c a p p e d - d e s i r e s f o r f a m i l y s e t t i n g - l o w o n c a s h - l o w s p a c e r e q u i r e m e n t - d e s i r e s f o r g r o u n d o r i e n t a t i o n a t t r a c t i v e to renters. Secondary suites add to the City's stock of rental housing. Not only are they needed in'times of housing shortage, they also add to the choice available to renters. As discussed i n Chapter I I , although there are some single family houses i n the r e n t a l market, most of the " l e g a l " rental units i n the City are i n the form of apartments and townhouses i n areas zoned for multi-family use. Secondary suites on the other hand widen the range of alternatives i n terms of price, location, unit size and physical condition. Secondary suites have more "single-family c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s " favoured by most people than custom b u i l t apartments. Such ch a r a c t e r i s t i c s include ground o r i e n t a t i o n 7 quiet neighbourhood and proximity to schools, open spaces, parks and so on. For people with special needs such as families with children, students, seniors and the handicapped, some of the features are p a r t i c u l a r l y important. For families with young children, dwellings with ground orientation 1"'" i n a family neighbourhood with other children and f a c i l i t i e s for them, are c r u c i a l factors. Besides, young children are often not welcome i n apartments. While some of these single family c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s can be found i n townhouses, they are too few i n number and often cost much more than secondary suites. For post-high school students or young adults s t a r t i n g out on t h e i r own who only spend a limited amount of time i n t h e i r dwelling, Ann McAfee, "Housing Families At Higher-Densities" paper, Planning Department, C i t y of Vancouver, 1976, part I I , p.2,3. 70 proximity to the college, un i v e r s i t y or the place of work and 12 low rent are often far more important than unit size and condition. The apartments within reasonable distance of the two i n s t i t u t e s i n the City, University of B r i t i s h Columbia and Langara College, are both too costly and too few i n number to accommodate a l l the students seeking housing. In many cases, a room i n a basement suite rented to one or two individuals i s considered as adequate. In terms of rent, the preliminary survey undertaken as discussed i n Chapter III has shown that some of these suites can be cheaper than apartments of s i m i l a r s i z e . For seniors and the handicapped, a c c e s s i b i l i t y " 1 ^ and low rent are e s s e n t i a l . Since there i s s t i l l a shortage of spe c i a l units suitable for t h e i r needs, secondary suites, e s p e c i a l l y i f at ground l e v e l , are an altern a t i v e . I l l u s t r a t i o n 15 highlights the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of people choosing to l i v e i n secondary suites. 2.3 Disadvantages to Homeowner and Renter The biggest drawback to both the homeowner and the renter i n a secondary suite arrangement i s that they have to l i v e under the shadow of i l l e g a l i t y , which may lead to many problems. An example i s the hesitancy of landlord or tenant to defend t h e i r rights under the Landlord and Tenancy Act i n 12 Arnold M. Rose, " L i v i n g Arrangements of Unattached Person", 1947, Urban Housing, p.222. 13 Defined as freedom from phy s i c a l b a r r i e r s such as st a i r c a s e s , narrow hallway and so on that would r e s t r i c t the movement o f those who have l i m i t e d m o b i l i t y . case of grievances, for fear that the unlawful arrangement w i l l be discovered. Consequently, lack of maintenance, nuisance (e.g. loud music), or unreasonable rent increases, are l e f t to the i n d i v i d u a l parties to resolve. The homeowner may pass up a t t r a c t i v e programs such as RRAP which requires b u i l d i n g inspection. The fear that neighbours may discover and report the suite may discourage him from inte r a c t i n g with them. For the renter, because the suite has been i n s t a l l e d i l l e g a l l y , i t may not meet the City's safety and l i v a b i l i t y standards as discussed i n Chapter IV Section 2.5. It may be in a basement several feet below ground, without the approved l e v e l of natural l i g h t i n g and adequate damp proofing. Furthermore, due to the d i v e r s i t y of physical condition of the suites, and the lack of information on what to expect from suites, i t may be harder for the renter to compare suites and determine whether the rent i s reasonable r e l a t i v e to i t s location, physical condition and s i z e . The renter may also have the disadvantage of not having a proper status i n the community such as being overlooked i n community surveys and 1 4 seldom receives public notices and advertisements 3. Absentee Landlord In some cases, houses containing a secondary suite are owned by absentee landlords. These houses are generally rented to two separate households, one which occupies the main Interviews with renters of suites, Vancouver, 1977-1978. portion of the house and the other which, occupies the secondary suite. Since the owner views the house as an investment, the suite i s an important source of income. Although many of the suites involved i n this type of arrangement are s i m i l a r to the ones described i n the l a s t section, there are others which are owned by individuals who do not take proper care of t h e i r house or others who deliberately l e t t h e i r house run down, speculating on an upzoning for t h e i r properties. When a s i g -n i f i c a n t number of houses i n a block or i n a neighbourhood are i n this s i t u a t i o n , such upzoning may be fostered by the owner's purposeful neglect^ 5 This phenonmenon sometimes referred to as "block-busting", can be very disruptive, especially to older neighbours. Many of the planners interviewed agreed that i t has happened i n Vancouver, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n K i t s i l a n o . It i s very d i f f i c u l t to prevent by regulations but this i s a problem of absentee ownership rather than a problem of secondary suites. 4. Neighbours and Neighbourhood Secondary suites, especially when concentrated, may have several external e f f e c t s on the neighbouring households. Some neighbours may be upset that t h e i r neighbourhood i s no longer "single family". Others may worry that the "doubling up" i n some of the houses may adversely a f f e c t the balance between neighbourhood amenities and the number of households sharing them. ^ Interviews with l o c a l area planners, Vancouver, 1978. The complaint most f r e q u e n t l y mentioned by those i n t e r v i e w e d concerns the i n c r e a s e i n the number o f cars competing f o r o n - s t r e e t p a r k i n g spaces. This i s most s e r i o u s i n neighbourhoods such as Grandview Woodlands and Mount P l e a s a n t , where the l o t frontages are narrow and the average u n i t only has one o f f - s t r e e t p a r k i n g space. While there has been a g e n e r a l i n c r e a s e i n the number of cars per household, the a d d i t i o n a l households a t t r i b u t a b l e to the secondary s u i t e s may have f u r t h e r i n c r e a s e d the demand f o r p a r k i n g spaces. I t has been found t h a t there seems to be l e s s vacant o n - s t r e e t 1 6 p a r k i n g i n b l o c k s where secondary s u i t e s are most numerous However, i t i s d i f f i c u l t t o assess whether t h i s c o n s t i t u t e s a s e r i o u s problem. Other complaints concern the negative e f f e c t s o f the secondary s u i t e s and t h e i r occupants on the p h y s i c a l appearance, peace and q u i e t and e v e n t u a l l y the p r o p e r t y value o f the neighbourhood. While t h i s remains as a myth as no i n depth study has been c a r r i e d out on the c o r r e l a t i o n between 1 7 secondary s u i t e s and p h y s i c a l upkeep, most of the informants b e l i e v e t h a t nuisance and the l a c k of maintenance are a s s o c i a t e d with i r r e s p o n s i b l e homeowners r e g a r d l e s s of the presence of secondary s u i t e s . The more important c o r e l a t i o n may be w i t h absentee l a n d l o r d s as d i s c u s s e d i n the p r e v i o u s s e c t i o n . Lan AuYeung, Amy Lau and L i s a Cheng, Riley Park Housing Study, unpublished report to the NIP C i t i z e n Committee, Vancouver, 1977. 17 Interviews with planners and professionals f a m i l i a r with s p e c i f i c neighbourhoods, Vancouver, 1977-1978. Some people are upset by the fact that homeowners with 18 suites avoid equitable property tax . In r e a l i t y , a l l improvements on property are subject to property tax regardless of whether such improvement includes the i n s t a l l a t i o n of a leg a l or i l l e g a l suite. While the Assessment Authority does not have the manpower to ensure that a l l improvements are reported, there w i l l no doubt be some homeowners who have made improvements that are not properly assessed. Another concern i s the e f f e c t of the extra households on 19 the l e v e l of neighbourhood services . Physical in f r a s t r u c t u r e such as water works and sewers i n most single family neighbour-hoods are capable of handling fluctuations i n the number of people served. With the decrease i n household s i z e , additional households i n certain neighbourhoods may not s i g n i f i c a n t l y increase the population. Schools, on the other hand, are more concerned with de c l i n i n g enrolment. The additional children from households occupying suites i n some neighbourhoods may therefore i n fact be welcome. As for the l e v e l of s o c i a l , park and recreation f a c i l i t i e s , the a v a i l a b i l i t y of services i s often dependent on "community demand" or the number of people wanting such services. Therefore, a larger population may encourage the establishment of more sp e c i a l i z e d programs. While many people do not mind the existence of secondary 2 0 suites, they are against l e g a l i z i n g them . Their biggest worry i s perhaps the p o s s i b i l i t y that the higher density and 1 8 Informal interview with homeowners, Vancouver, 1977-1978. 1 9 Ibid. 2 0 C i t y of Vancouver, Housing Conversion Study, Vancouver, 1975, p.72, 75 the change i n the neighbourhood composition may be the " t i p of the iceberg" which w i l l eventually lead to the xipzoning of the entire neighbourhood thereby disrupting i t s character. While some of the houses i n many neighbourhoods which have been "block-busted" or converted into multiple family zones did contain i l l e g a l suites, whether l e g a l i z a t i o n of suites would be followed by further upzoning would be a function of City p o l i c i e s at the time. 5. The City The secondary suite issue has a s i g n i f i c a n t bearing on the City's housing scene. As discussed i n Chapter I I , the existence of secondary suites has i n fac t demonstrated that the City's "conventional" housing supply, that i s , the number and type of units developed l e g a l l y according to the City's requirements, has f a i l e d to adequately meet the housing needs of some people. Secondary suites have increased the number and type of rental units i n the City . The arrangement provides f i n a n c i a l assistance to enable homeowners to own and upkeep t h e i r homes, while increasing the f l e x i b i l i t y of the single family house i n accommodating changes i n the balance between the household's need for housing space and t h e i r f i n a n c i a l c a p a b i l i t y . As a re s u l t , more households can spend a longer period of time l i v i n g i n the same houses thus minimizing the number of costly moves they have to make. When more households stay i n a neighbourhood for a longer period of time, i t i s easier for these households to develop a stake i n the neighbourhood 21 2 2 thereby r e i n f o r c i n g i t s s t a b i l i t y ' z . While most people•favour s i n g l e family neighbourhoods, they have always been considered'as " c o s t l y " to the C i t y , s i n c e they take up the greatest amount of r e s i d e n t i a l land while the per u n i t s e r v i c i n g cost f o r u t i l i t i e s , sewers, t r a n s p o r t a t i o n , and so on, i s higher than i n mult i - f a m i l y neighbourhoods. This higher cost w i l l be more c r i t i c a l i f the number of i n d i v i d u a l s occupying the unit s decreases as i n d i c a t e d by d e c l i n i n g household s i z e . Secondary su i t e s provide opportu-n i t i e s f o r the units to""be. shared by more i n d i v i d u a l s , thereby i n s u r i n g the co s t - e f f e c t i v e n e s s of the services provided. At the same time, the secondary s u i t e arrangement can serve as a cushion to absorb sudden- f l u c t u a t i o n s i n the demand for r e n t a l housing. Compared to other forms of r e n t a l u n i t s , secondary s u i t e s take f a r les s time and c a p i t a l to b u i l d and they can be accommodated i n e x i s t i n g houses and s i t e s without a f f e c t i n g the physical, appearance of the C i t y . Since the cost of housing i n the ownership market i s usually high while the 23 demand f o r r e n t a l housing i s c r i t i c a l . Therefore, there w i l l always be homeowners i n t e r e s t e d i n i n s t a l l i n g s u i t e s to a s s i s t them i n t h e i r mortgage payment when there are re n t e r s l o o k i n g .fox. housing.. Once the demand eases o f f , or when there i s a 21 . . Peter R o s s i , Why F a m i l i e s Move, 1955. 22 Simmons & Simmons, Urban Canada, 1979, p . 8 7 , 1 1 1 , 1 1 2 . 23 Th i s can be exp la ined by the theory o f supply and demand: The c o s t o f r e n t i n g i n c r e a s e s when there i s a shortage of r e n t a l u n i t s . The h igh c o s t o f r e n t i n g w i l l convince some r e n t e r s to cons ider owning i n s t e a d i f f i n a n c i a l l y p o s s i b l e . The sudden i n c r e a s e i n the demand of u n i t s i n the ownership market w i l l d r i v e up the p r i c e o f hous ing . Th is i s demonstrated by the sharp jumps i n the p r i c e of housing i n 1970-1972, 1974-1975, 1980 when the vacancy ra te was approaching 0 . better choice of ren t a l units, the renters not s a t i s f i e d with the suite they have been l i v i n g i n w i l l seek other forms of housing. Therefore, there w i l l be less people w i l l i n g to l i v e i n secondary suites. At such time, the number of these suites i n the City would tend to decrease; again, without bringing physical changes to the City. However, as discussed i n the previous sections, secondary suites can bring problems to individuals as well as neighbour-hoods mainly because these suites v i o l a t e the City's land use regulations with regard to zoning and l i v a b i l i t y standards, thus putting the City into an awkward position i f the law i s not enforced. Yet past experience with secondary suites has indicated that i t i s highly u n l i k e l y that they can be eliminated nor can the City do so without forcing people into hardship or bringing substantial changes i n the City's housing s i t u a t i o n that w i l l minimize people's dependency on these suites. Such i l l e g a l "doubling up" also affects the accuracy of housing and population s t a t i s t i c s and the r e l i a b i l i t y of projections made from those figures for planning purposes. 6. Summary In this chapter, advantages and disadvantages of secondary suites to the various parties involved have been i d e n t i f i e d , although the magnitude of each remains to be explored. Under the current land use regulations, the parties having the greatest gains are the i n d i v i d u a l homeowners and renters d i r e c t l y involved i n the secondary suite arrangement. The 78 major gain for the homeowner i s the opportunity to rent the suite when his need for an extra source of income exceeds his need for part of the house, and the freedom to regain the use of the suite when his need changes. For the renter, i t i s the a v a i l a b i l i t y of another form of rental unit, d i f f e r e n t from . conventional apartments and townhouses. Instead, i t has many attributes of the single family home, can be located i n a variety of neighbourhoods and more importantly, may be cheaper than other types of s i m i l a r sized r e n t a l units. The main disadvantage of the suite arrangement to both the owner and renter i s i t s i l l e g a l i t y . They may be hesitant to defend the i r rights for fear that someone may discover that they have broken the law. For the absentee landlords, the suite i s just another source of income to t h e i r advantage. For the neigh-bourhood where secondary suites are located, many people believe that they have more disadvantages than advantages. Some f e l t that they would destroy the "single family" image of the neighbourhood and the extra households generated by the suites would compete for t h e i r community resources. Many people feared that l e g a l i z i n g secondary suites would lead to further upzoning or physical run down of the area. Others were upset that homeowners of suites did not pay t h e i r f a i r share of property taxes.. While there was evidence supporting the idea that more suites could have a negative e f f e c t on the l e v e l of community services, most noticeably i n terms of parking, the additional households might have the p o s i t i v e e f f e c t of stimulating the provision of more services. At the same time, many of the disadvantages people i d e n t i f i e d might be associated with, problems not d i r e c t l y associated with the suites. However, more studies are needed to v e r i f y these myths. F i n a l l y , i n terms of the City, the main advantage of the suites i s that although they might not be an i d e a l housing solution, they have s a t i s f i e d much of the housing need i n the Ci t y . I t has increased housing choices and f l e x i b i l i t y i n absorbing sudden fluctuations i n housing supply and demand without bringing major changes to the physical appearance of the City. The additional households introduced to single family neigh-bourhoods can ensure the cost effectiveness of the services provided. However, the major drawback of the suites i s that they are i n v i o l a t i o n with the Zoning By-law. This has put the City into an uneasy position i f the By-law i s not enforced. 7 . Conclusion This chapter has shown that the posi t i v e and negative effects of secondary suites vary s i g n i f i c a n t l y depending on the nature of one's involvement i n the suite issue. /Ambiguity arises when one t r i e s to balance his views as a homeowner or renter with his views from a broader perspective. While one enjoys the income generated from his suite as a homeowner or the opportunity to l i v e i n the suite as a renter, he worries that too many suites may upset the well-being of the neighbour-hood. While the suites have vi o l a t e d the City's By-law, one must admit that i t has relieved some of the housing needs. Therefore, unless a p o l i c y can adequately accommodate these 80 s e e m i n g l y c o n t r a d i c t a r y needs and c o n c e r n s , the i s s u e w i l l r emain u n r e s o l v e d o r o t h e r problems w i l l be c r e a t e d . 81 VI. SOLUTIONS TO THE SECONDARY SUITE ISSUE 1. Introduction Past experience has demonstrated that there was no simple solution to the secondary suite issue. Based on the findings of the previous chapters, this chapter i s a summary of p o l i c y options and a projection of t h e i r impact on the housing s i t u a t i o n and the number of secondary suites i n the C i t y . The objectives of each policy are also outlined and i t s short-comings or constraints discussed. The policy option which off e r s the most appropriate solution to the City w i l l depend on the objectives the City t r i e s to achieve and the price i t i s w i l l i n g to pay. 2. Policy Orientations There are two basic policy orientations i n dealing with the secondary suite issue i n the City depending on how one views the issue. If i t i s viewed as a problem, the option i s to control the number of secondary suites. I f i t i s viewed as a resource, the option then i s to convert secondary suites into an acceptable form of housing. Each policy orientation w i l l be discussed i n d i v i d u a l l y i n the following sections. 2.1 Controlling the Number of Secondary Suites The number of secondary suites i n the City can be controlled by two means. The f i r s t one i s to control i t d i r e c t l y by taking action against them. The second one i s to control i t i n d i r e c t l y by providing people with viable 82 alternatives to the secondary suite arrangement. The impact of the two approaches i s graphically described i n I l l u s t r a t i o n s 16 and 17. For the f i r s t means, I l l u s t r a t i o n 16 indicates that the stronger the control, the fewer secondary suites there w i l l be. I f the City's objective i s to ensure that the Zoning By-law i s not violated, t h i s policy can serve the purpose. The single family neighbourhoods w i l l be of single family use as i t i s intended for when the By-law was drafted. However, to eliminate a l l suites (point A), a massive team of building inspectors w i l l be needed to constantly p a t r o l a l l the houses capable of having secondary suites. This policy would also cause hardship to homeowners who need the income generated by thei r suites and to people displaced by the suite closures who have d i f f i c u l t y i n finding suitable housing. A secondary suite arrangement w i l l always require a homeowner who needs the extra money from the suite and a tenant who needs the accommodation i t provides. If either or both parties can fi n d better alternatives i n meeting th e i r needs, the arrangement w i l l not be possible. Therefore, the second means to reduce the number of secondary suites i s by upgrading the housing condition i n the City . The number of secondary suites can be regarded as an indicator of the extent to which housing needs are not met i n the City. Chapters II and III have already discussed the close r e l a t i o n s h i p between the City's o v e r a l l housing s i t u a t i o n and the number of suites that e x i s t s . That relationship i s graphically shown i n 8 3 I l l u s t r a t i o n 16: Correlation Between the Level of Secondary Suites Control and the Number of Secondary '' Suites i n the City I l l u s t r a t i o n 17: Correlation Between the A v a i l a b i l i t y and A f f o r d a b i l i t y of Housing and the Number of  Secondary Suites i n the City N0; Of- £Dlf££ 84 I l l u s t r a t i o n 17. When the housing condition i s at the optimal, the number of suites w i l l be at the minimal (point A). However, there w i l l be a small number of people who s t i l l prefer secondary suites to other forms of housing as described i n Chapter III. When the housing condition i s at i t s worst, the number of suites w i l l be at the highest l e v e l (point B). For years both the public and private sectors have been t r y i n g to come up with "sound housing p o l i c i e s " . It w i l l be beyond the scope of t h i s thesis to discuss them i n d e t a i l . 2.2 Secondary Suites As an Acceptable Form of Housing I f secondary suites i s considered as a housing resource, the issue can be resolved by considering secondary suites as an acceptable form of housing. This i s the orientation of the City's suite l e g a l i z a t i o n p o l i c y . Instead of changing the number of suites that e x i s t i n the City, t h i s policy aims at changing the leg a l status of the suites. However, i f the homeowners are the ones responsible for the l e g a l i z a t i o n process, the degree to which they are affected by the process w i l l determine the r a t i o of leg a l to i l l e g a l suites i n the City. The rel a t i o n s h i p i s shown i n I l l u s t r a t i o n 18. I f homeowners have to give up most of what they can gain from t h e i r suites i n order to have them le g a l i z e d , or have to suffer other losses, a l l secondary suites i n the City w i l l remain i l l e g a l (point A). If the l e g a l i z a t i o n process i s advantageous to some homeowners, i t i s very l i k e l y that only th e i r suites w i l l be legal i z e d while the rest w i l l remain i l l e g a l (point B). I f the l e g a l i z a t i o n process i s very 85 I l l u s t r a t i o n 18: The Impact of Suite Legalization Requirements on the Percentage of Legal Versus I l l e g a l  Suites vis-uo. of W&MMV &)\ie& 86 a t t r a c t i v e to homeowners, not only e x i s t i n g suites w i l l be lega l i z e d , new suites w i l l be created to take advantage of the lega l status (point C). Analysis of the mechanism behind the secondary suite arrangement i n Chapter V suggests that there could be other means to change secondary suites into an acceptable form of housing. Rather than seeing suite l e g a l i z a t i o n as an objective i n i t s e l f , the policy should be aimed at eliminating the disadvantages while maximizing the advantages of secondary suites to a l l parties involved. Suite l e g a l i z a t i o n can remove many of the disadvantages to homeowners but also some of the advantages of having a suite i f regulations are introduced to protect the renters and the neighbourhood i n the process of l e g a l i z a t i o n . If the homeowners fi n d that the loss of advantages does not j u s t i f y the gain from l e g a l i z a t i o n , they w i l l be hesitant to p a r t i c i p a t e . Therefore, there i s a need for other means to supplement the l e g a l i z a t i o n process. They may include the following: - Provide incentives and/or assistance to homeowners to have t h e i r suites l e g a l i z e d including bringing the disadvantages of the l e g a l i z a t i o n process to them to a minimum. - Provide renters with the incentives and means to encourage t h e i r homeowners to have t h e i r suites legalized. 87 - Provide the neighbourhood with compensation for any negative impact generated by the suite arrangement i f such impact has not been eliminated by the l e g a l i z a t i o n process. It i s f e l t that the a v a i l a b i l i t y of these means w i l l have a d i r e c t bearing on the success of the policy as well as the adequacy of secondary suites i n meeting the City's housing need. 3. Summary The two broad policy options i n dealing with the secondary suite issue are either to decrease the number of secondary suites or change them into an acceptable form of housing. The f i r s t option can be implemented by taking d i r e c t action against the suites or to eliminate the need for suites by providing housing alternatives. The second option can be implemented by r e l y i n g s o l e l y on the l e g a l i z a t i o n process or a multitude of means to reduce the disadvantages of suites. A range of objectives can be achieved through the two d i f f e r e n t policy options and the means of implementing them. At the same time, d i f f e r e n t range of resources and trade-offs are c a l l e d for. 4. Conclusion In t h i s chapter, two policy orientations, namely, to control the number of secondary suites or to change them into an acceptable form of housing, and the means of implementing 8 8 them were i d e n t i f i e d . Based on the findings i n the preceding chapters, a model was constructed to i l l u s t r a t e the impact of the p o l i c i e s on the City's housing s i t u a t i o n as well as the secondary suite issue. It was demonstrated that although the two orientations were fundamentally d i f f e r e n t , both were . capable of resolving the secondary suite issue. However, they would c a l l for d i f f e r e n t resources and policy actions. It i s hoped that t h i s model may a s s i s t both the planners i n preparing more e f f e c t i v e p o l i c i e s and the decision makers in choosing the most appropriate solution for the City. Although secondary suite was the issue examined i n this study, i t i s f e l t that the a n a l y t i c a l framework used can be applicable to other issues. S i m i l a r l y , since Vancouver i s a City not a t y p i c a l i n America, the model presented here may be useful for other c i t i e s that are faced with a s i m i l a r issue. 5. Further Research While t h i s study has provided the framework for approaching the secondary suite issue, there remains a number of questions to be answered. More research i s needed on the attributes of the single family neighbourhoods that need to be protected by land use regulations. The f e a s i b i l i t y of replacing the physical standards for suites with l i v a b i l i t y standards needs to be investigated. F i n a l l y , to translate the policy options into implementable rules and regulations w i l l be the most important step towards providing viable means to resolve the secondary suite issue. 89 BIBLIOGRAPHY Audain, Michael, Beyond Shelter, Housing for the El d e r l y , Canadian Council on Social Development, 1970. _______ and Andrew Armitage, Housing Requirements: A Review of Recent Canadian Research. Ottawa: The Canadian Council on Social Development, May, 197 2. Housing s i t u a t i o n i n Vancouver, A B r i e f i n g For  Volunteers, Planning Committee for the United Community Services of the Greater Vancouver Area. AuYeung, Lan; Amy Lau and Lisa Cheng, "Housing i n Riley Park, A Background Study." Unpublished report prepared for the NIP Riley Park Citizen's Committee, U.B.C, A p r i l , 1977. Beck, Robert J., Teasdale, Pierre, User Generated Program For Lowrise Multiple Dwelling Housing, University of Montreal, 1977. Bosselman, Fred; C a l l i e s , David; Banta, John, The Taking Issue, An Analysis of the Constitutional Limits of Land Use Control, prepared for the council on environmental qu a l i t y , Canada, 1975. Canadian Council on So c i a l Development, The. A Review of Canadian Social Housing Policy. Ottawa: January, T9 77. Census, S t a t i s t i c s Canada, 1956-1976. Johnston, Pat and Derek Hayes, Housing Conversion, The Potential for Additional Suites i n Single Family Houses, Vancouver Planning Department, Vancouver, March, 19 75. Kennedy, L e s l i e W., Adopting to New Environments: Residential  Mobility from the Mover's Point of View. Major Report No. 3, Urban and Community Studies, University of Toronto, 1975. Kirby, Elizabeth J., Housing and Family. 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Roberts, Blood, The Family, New York, 1972. Rose, Arnold M., "Living Arrangements of Unattached Person" 1947, Urban Housing, Wheaton, William L.C., Ed., The Free Press, New York. Rossi, Peter H., Why Families Move, Free Press, Glencoe, 1955. Simmons and Simmons, Urban Canada, Ottawa, 1969. Social Planning and Review Council of B r i t i s h Columbia, Handicapped Housing Report, Greater Vancouver Regional D i s t r i c t , Vancouver, B r i t i s h Columbia, 1978. Vancouver, City of, Innercity Housing Workshop. Vancouver: A p r i l 13-15, 1977. , Quarterly Review. Vancouver: 1975-1978. , zoning and Development by Law. Vancouver: 1977. , Planning Department Reports, 1973-197 8. Vancouver Charter, The. V i c t o r i a , The Province of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1977. Vancouver Sun, The, Vancouver d a i l y newspaper. Wurster, Catherine Bauer, "Social Questions i n Housing and Community Planning", 1951, Urban Housing, Wheaton, William L.C., Ed., The Free Press, New York. 91 Interviews Beasley, Larry, Local Area Planning, Riley Park, Planning Department, City of Vancouver, September-December, 1977. Goldie, J e f f , RRAP Promoter, Cedar Cottage and Mount Pleasant, Planning Department, City of Vancouver, January, 197 8. Holmes, Katheryne, Local Area Planner, Cedar Cottage and Mount Pleasant, Planning Department, City of Vancouver, January 1978. Johnson, David, Volunteer, Student Housing Referral Services, University of B r i t i s h Columbia, January, 1977. McCallan, Norm, Housing Control Coordinator, Department of Permits and Licenses, C i t y of Vancouver, January and March 1978. Murdock, Mhoire, RRAP Promoter, K i t s i l a n o and Grandview Woodlands, Planning Department, City of Vancouver, January, 197 8. Teecherob, Paul, RRAP Promoter, Riley Park, City of Vancouver, February, 197 8. Watkinson, M., Public Relations, Real Estate Board of Greater Vancouver, Vancouver, February, 197 8. Wotherspoon, Pat, Ci t y Planner, Planning Department, City of Vancouver, January and March, 197 8. Informal interview with about 50 homeowners or renters of secondary suites in the City, 1977 to 1978. A p p e n d i x 1. A p p l i c a t i o n Form f o r H a r d s h i p P e r m i t , C i t v o f V a n c o u v e r THIS INFORMATION IS STRICTLY CONFIDENTIAL INFORMATION FOR APPLICANT AND COMMISSIONER  FOR TAKING AFFIDAVIT FOR THE PROVINCE OF B. C. COMPLETE YOUR APPLICATION IN BLACK INK OR HAVE I T . TYPEWRITTEN. MAKE SURE THAT ALL QUESTIONS ARE ANSWERED. MAKE SURE THAT PAGE "4" IS SIGNED BY THE APPLICANT BEFORE A COMMISSIONER FOR TAKING AFFIDAVIT FOR THE  PROVINCE OF B. C. • TO EXPLAIN UNUSUAL CIRCUMSTANCES A COVERING LETTER SHOULD BE ATTACHED TO THIS FORM. DO NOT WRITE ANY UNNECESSARY REMARKS ON THIS APPLICATION AS IT IS AN OFFICIAL DOCUMENT AND MUST BE CLEARLY LEGIBLE. MAKE SURE THAT THIS APPLICATION IS RETURNED TO THE DEPARTMENT OF PERMITS AND LICENSES, SECOND FLOOR, EAST WING, VANCOUVER CITY HALL, WITHIN THE TIME LIMIT STATED IN. THE LETTER. DO NOT REMOVE THESE INSTRUCTIONS FROM THIS APPLICATION. C I T Y O F V A N C O U V E R H A R D S H I P A P P L I C A T I O N A D D R E S S O F B U I L D I N G I / W E T H E U N D E R S I G N E D H E R E B Y A P P L Y F O R S P E C I A L C O N S I D E R A T I O N B Y T H E C I T Y O F V A N C O U V E R T O B E P E R M I T T E D T O U S E A N I L L E G A L H O U S I N G U N I T A T T H E A B O V E A D D R E S S B E C A U S E I T W O U L D C R E A T E A H A R D S H I P I F S U C H A C C O M M O D A T I O N W E R E R E M O V E D T O C O M P L Y W I T H E X I S T I N G R E G U L A T I O N S O F T H E C I T Y O F ' V A N C O U V E R , Z O N I N G A N D D E V E L O P M E N T B Y - L A W , T O E N A B L E T H E C I T Y O F V A N C O U V E R T O E V A L U A T E MY S I T U A T I O N , S U B M I T T H E F O L L O W I N G F I N A N C I A L I N F O R M A T I O N C O N C E R N I N G M Y S E L F A N D MY F A M I L Y . . S U B M I T T E D B Y : (1) N A M E S P O U S E ' S N A M E T E N A N T T E N A N T - S T U D E N T O W N E R (2) B I R T H D A T E ( A P P L I C A N T ) ( S P O U S E ) (3) A D D R E S S S P O U S E ' S A D D R E S S (4) T E L E P H O N E ( H O M E ) S P O U S E ' S P H O N E ( H O M E ) (WORK) (WORK) (5) N O . O F D E P E N D E N T S ( I N C A N A D A ) ( O U T S I D E C A N A D A ) (6) N A M E S . A N D A G E S (7) L E N G T H O F R E S I D E N C E I N V A N C O U V E R (8) N A M E O F E M P L O Y E R P L A C E O F E M P L O Y M E N T (9) L I S T O T H E R E M P L O Y E D P E R S O N S I N Y O U R H O U S E H O L D (10) N U M B E R O F P E O P L E L I V I N G I N A P P L I C A N T ' S U N I T 94 2 -B . PERSONAL PROPERTY: (1) CASH ON HAND (2) B A N K , CREDIT UNION OR S I M I L A R ACCOUNT(S) NAME OF I N S T I T U T I O N LOCATION ; AMOUNT (3) INTEREST I N ANY BUSINESS D E T A I L S VALUE (4) REAL ESTATE OWNED (a) NATURE ADDRESS MORTGAGE COMPANY AMOUNT OF MORTGAGE $_ VALUE OF PROPERTY (b) NATURE ADDRESS AMOUNT OF MORTGAGE $_ VALUE OF PROPERTY (5) DO YOU OWN A CAR? M A K E , YEAR AND MODEL YES NO VALUE (6) OTHER ASSETS D E T A I L S VALUE (7) TOTAL ESTIMATED V A L U E : PERSONAL PROPERTY ( E n t e r Sum o f B ( l ) t o B(6)) 3 95 INCOME - In t h i s s e c t i o n , please give monthly amounts from the following sources f o r a l l members of your household. For example, i f an employed son or brother-in-law l i v e s with you, please include t h e i r income. I f payments are made only once a year, they should be d i v i d e d b y twelve (12) for t h i s form. APPLICANT OTHER FAMILY MEMBERS TOTAL (1) EARNINGS (Gross Pay) $ $ $ f. (2) OLD AGE SECURITY OR SOCIAL ALLOWANCE $ $ $ (3) MILITARY PENSION OR ALLOWANCE 5 5 $ (4) ' UNEMPLOYMENT INSURANCE, WORKER'S COMPENSATION $ $ $ (5) FAMILY ALLOWANCE $ $ $ (6) INCOME FROM RENTAL SUITE(S) OR ROOM(S) $ (7) MORTGAGE OR AGREEMENT FOR SALE TOTAL AMOUNT $ MONTHLY. INCOME $ (8) OTHER INVESTMENT INCOME (SPECIFY) $ (9) OTHER SOURCES (SPECIFY) $ (10) COMBINED TOTAL MONTHLY INCOME (Enter Sum of C (1) to C (9 ) ) (11) HAS YOUR NORMAL SOURCE OF INCOME BEEN DISRUPTED? YES NO REASONS : - 4 -96 D. MONTHLY LIVING EXPENSES: - Pleasa s p e c i f y the monthly expenses of your household f o r the fo l l o w i n g items. I f payments are made only once a year, they should be d i v i d e d by twelve (12) for t h i s form. (1) RENT/MORTGAGE/AGREEMENT FOR SALE $ (2) NET PROPERTY TAXES ( i f not included i n (1)) $ (3) FOOD $ (4) UTILITIES (i) L i g h t and Gas $_ ( i i ) Telephone $ (5) HEAT ( i f not included i n D(4)) $ (6) HOUSE INSURANCE $ (7) CLOTHING $ TOTAL $ (Enter Sum of D(l) to D(7)) FINANCIAL INFORMATION AUTHORIZATION I/WE HEREBY AUTHORIZE THE CITY OF VANCOUVER,- ITS EMPLOYEE, OR AGENTS TO MAKE SUCH ENQUIRIES AS ARE NECESSARY TO VERIFY INFORMATION PROVIDED IN THE HARDSHIP APPLICATION AND I AUTHORIZE PERSONS HAVING SUCH INFORMATION TO PROVIDE THE CITY OF VANCOUVER, THROUGH ITS AGENT OR EMPLOYEE WITH SUCH INFORMATION AND THAT A PHOTOSTATIC COPY OF THIS AUTHORIZATION WILL BE SUFFICIENT AUTHORIZATION FOR RELEASE OF SUCH INFORMATION. DATED DAY OF , 19 (SIGNATURE) (SIGNATURE OF SPOUSE) DECLARATION I/WE Of B . C DECLARE THAT ALL INFORMATION GIVEN HEREIN IS TRUE AND I MAKE THIS SOLEMN DECLARATION KNOWING THAT IT IS OF THE SAME FORCE AND EFFECT AS IF MADE UNDER OATH AND BY VIRTUE OF THE "CANADIAN EVIDENCE ACT." AND I FURTHER DECLARE THAT NO INFORMATION HAS BEEN CONCEALED OR OMITTED. DECLARED BEFORE ME AT B. C (SIGNATURE) THIS DAY OF , 19 COMMISSIONER FOR TAKING AFFIDAVITS OR NOTARY PUBLIC (SIGNATURE OF SPOUSE) S U M M A R Y S H E E T H A R D S H I P A P P L I C A T I O N - T E N A N T - T E N A N T - S T U D E N T - O W N E R N A M E O F A P P L I C A N T ( I t e m A ( l ) ) .  A G E ( I t e m A ( 2 ) ) •  A D D R E S S ( I t e m A ( 3 ) ) ; H O U S E H O L D I N C O M E D I S R U P T E D ? ( I t e m C ( - l l ) ) Y E S N O N U M B E R O F P E R S O N S I N A P P L I C A N T ' S U N I T ( I t e m A ( 1 0 ) ) G R O S S H O U S E H O L D I N C O M E ( I t e m C ( 1 0 ) ) . I S T H E G R O S S H O U S E H O L D I N C O M E B E L O W T H E I N C O M E G U I D E L I N E S ? Y E S N O T O T A L A S S E T S ( I t e m B ( 7 ) ) $ 98 Appe n d i x 2. R e s u l t s o f S e c o n d a r y S u i t e P l e b i s c i t e i n A r e a s : RESULTS OF SECONDARY SUITE PLEBISCITE_IN_THE RS-1 AREA OF CEDAR COTTACK E l i g i b l e V o t e r C e d a r C o t t a g e 1 37 40.54% 73.33% C e d a r C o t t a g e 227 42.73% G7.37% C e d a r C o t t a g e 3 17G 4 3.75% 7C.95% C e d a r C o t t a g e 4 30 4 43.034 64 .7 5?. C e d a r C o t t a g e O v e r a l l 744 45.03% 6 9.2 3% RESULTS of SECONDARY SUITE PLEBISCITE IN THE RS-I AREA OF KITSILANO 3D i — i 2 ••c E l i g i b l e V o t e r P O T i t i v o V o i o r s :onse Response K i t s i l a n o 1 142 S3 38% . 46 .51% K i t s i l a n o 2 141 53 .19% 72 . 00% K i t s i l a n o 3 448 G3 62% 41 . 22% K i t s il'ano 4 304 57 . 24% 44 .12% K i t s i l a n o 5 811 63 .13% 33 .95% K i t s i l a n o 6 17 6 51 .14% 42 .70% K i t s i l a n o 7 368 .63 .04% 42 . 92% K i t s i l a . n o O v e r a l l 2390 61 .00% 41 . 37% 6 TH 7 TH S TH I-.. Zl {~i7°° • r i c a i — i ! ~ ^ % , ^ ii i i si L_Ji;l i • 1 i l l IN 1 1 1 1: 1 1 0 0 Appendix 3. Notice to Residents on the Secondary Suite  P l e b i s c i t e K i t s i l a n o Planning Of f i ce 2384 West 4th Avenue Vancouver, B. C. October 6, 1975 NOTICE TO RESIDENTS OF KITSILANO'S SINGLE FAMILY ZONE If hi lifr ' T T " ••! I \ if'l.'T T" *' T '' ' i ',T*T" ' *'" "i*"'"'T"t"^TM T * """ iT'lffTIT T" •i''"l7 T' r"ilTT*T"*l"^"*,iWJ' You are inv i ted to attend a public meeting on Thursday, October 16th, 1975 at 7:30 p.m. i n Room #114 at the K i t s i l a n O i g h SchoolT The main topic of discuss ion w i l l be the plebesci te which i s going to be held i n your area i n ear ly November. The purpose of t h i s plebescite i s to ascerta in whether ycu , the residents of K i t s i l a n o ' s Single Family Zoned area are i n favour of making i t legal to have secondary suites i n s ingle family homes i n your area. There are presently a large number of i l l e g a l sui tes i n ycur area. C i t y Council placed a moratorium on c los ing down these suites some time ago. However, t h i s only protected those who already have s u i t e s . I f anyone else t r i e s to put i n a sui te and i s discovered, that suite has been and w i l l be closed down. This i s obviously an unfa i r s i t u a t i o n . Ei ther i ^ . e r y j U L i i £ . s J i ^ be-Alloj«^cLta~iULVc..^ja...-extra sui te i n their house or no one should,- Hopefully the resu l t s of the plebescite w i l l help C i t y Council decide i f i t w i l l be a case of everyone or no one. We would also l i k e to discuss any other planning problems which may e x i s t in your area; eg. t r a f f i c , parking, commercial zones, parks, e t c . We look forward to your attendance at t h i s meeting Thursday evening. Yours, Gates, K i t s i l a n o Planning Of f i ce 101 Appendix 4. Des c r i p t i o n of the RS-1A Zoning P r o v i s i o n Regarding  The Requirements for Suite L e g a l i z a t i o n SECONDARY SUITES IN THE KITSILANO AREA Vancouver C i t y C o u n c i l has authorized a p l e b i s c i t e i n your neighbourhood to determine whether property owners wish to permit the a d d i t i o n of s u i t e s i n s i n g l e - f a m i l y homes. The Ci t y ' s zoning and Development By-law does not prese n t l y permit such s u i t e s i n your s i n g l e - f a m i l y (RS-1) zone, although many =>re known to e x i s t and are being permitted on a temporary basis because of the housing shortage. This has been an issue of some importance i n your area, and therefore the C i t y C o u n c i l would l i k e to have the opinio n of the area. I t i s proposed that property-owners who l i v e i n t h e i r own homes w i t h i n the neighbourhood o u t l i n e d on the back, of page 2 (resident property-owners) be requested to vote on whether they wish s u i t e s to be permitted i n t h e i r area. I t would s t i l l be up to each home-owner to decide f o r himself whether he wishes to apply f o r a permit and provide a s u i t e i n h i s own house. I f s i x t y percent of those voting i n each area are i n favour, the Zoning By-law may be amended by C i t y C o u n c i l to allow permits to be iss u e d f o r such s u i t e s . The r e g u l a t i o n s that would apply to secondary s u i t e s i f they are permitted are as- f o l l o w s : a) a minimum s u i t e s i z e of 400 square f e e t ; b) c e i l i n g height now lower than 7 feet from the f l o o r at i t s lowest point; c) basement f l o o r no more than H f e e t below average ground grade l e v e l , excepting that i n the case of a f l o o r more ••-thart 1 foot below average ground grade l e v e l , adequate standards of damp-proofing, l i g h t i n g , v e n t i l a t i o n and a secondary means of egress must be provided; these standards to be worked out i n conjunction with the C i t y Medical Health O f f i c e r , and the D i r e c t o r of Permits S Licences; d) at l e a s t one o f f - s t r e e t parking space w i l l be requ i r e d f o r dwellings having a secondary s u i t e ; e) s t r u c t u r a l changes i n c r e a s i n g the height or perimeter of the b u i l d i n g may be permitted f o r the purpose of c r e a t i n g a s u i t e , subject to the design being approved by the D i r e c t o r of Planning; but the requirements of the RS-1 zoning schedule regarding height, f l o o r space r a t i o , side yards and setbacks w i l l continue to apply; f) owners of e x i s t i n g s u i t e s i n these zones wi11 be required -to_apply-f.orL,.permission.„to.,r-etain. t h e i r s u i t e s . and i n so rin-ing t n m p A t t h e a h n v p . s t a n r i a T - d s ; g) any e x i s t i n g l e g a l l y subdivided l o t w i l l be considered appropriate f o r the purpose of c r e a t i n g a secondary s u i t e i n an owner-occupied dwelling., subject to the design thereof being approved'by the D i r e c t o r of Planning. A canvass of your area i s being conducted i n order to prepare a Voters' L i s t . Only r e s i d e n t Property Owners, 19 years of age or over, are to be inc l u d e d . If you were a v a i l a b l e when the enumerator c a l l e d at your premises, the necessary Voters' L i s t information w i l l have been recorded. I f not, however, w i l l you please complete the  attached "Out; L e f t Notice" card 'and forward i t immediately to the Voters' L i s t Department, 2512 Yukon S t r e e t . No stamp re q u i r e d . .21 - 2 -102 When the Voters' L i s t i s completed, a b a l l o t w i l l be mailed to a l l persons on the l i s t to allow an opportunity to express an opinion FOR or AGAINST secondary s u i t e s i n the area. When you receive your ballot,- please mark and r e t u r n i t as soon as poss i b l e to the Voters' L i s t Department, 2512 Yukon Str e e t . Please note: This i s a p e t i t i o n - p l e b i s c i t e and therefore i t i s not to be regarded as a secret b a l l o t . In t h i s way the r e s u l t i n g v n t p r p p p i v p f i frnm ynnr- add-rpss T.TJ 1 1 ho p l n t t p r l nn an a r P f l fflrtp.tn glWP a-vi.snal r p p ^ s p n t a t i o T i nf t h p n y p p - p l l rpqnl-t t n Pil - y f n n n r - i l . -•' A p u b l i c meeting has been held i n your neighbourhood to expl a i n t h i s proposal. I f you were not present at the meeting and require more information, please c a l l Jeanette Hlavach, K i t s i l a n o Planner, 735-1188, before you mark your b a l l o t . I f you have any question r e s p e c t i n g the a c t u a l canvass and p l e b i s c i t e arrangements, please contact J . Brown, Supervisor of E l e c t i o n s , at 873-7681. "T*g"3 " M ^ -STTT^ OT> *SV& ^ 5 $ . $ jr- j $ o ^rr^ i / T ^ &" ) *H AvcoxSpw x o i v o T t o t n a i c , Acpopa XOVQ 6 i , a u £ v o v T a c . £vx6c. Trie, olxCac. TGJV • tStoxTfJTec. Trie, T t s p L o x f i Q « a t touc; lv&ia<p£pei, Sueaa. A T t e p t o ' O o T f i p O Q uXripocpoptat; TOcpaxaXovney OTCCOQ <£7teu8uvea0e f| T n \ e -spwvffre : 736.8451,HELLENIC C U L T U R A L COMMUNITY C E N T E R , 2967 WEST BROADWAY, VANCOUVER, B . C . Se s i e t e p r o p r i e t a r i d i una casa, questa l e t t e r a e molto importante per v o i . Se avete bisogno d i s p i e g a z i o n i , chiamate i l M u l t i l i n g u a l S o c i a l Service. Se voce e p r o p r i e t a r i o de r e s i d e n c i a , esta c a r t a lhe sera nuito importante. Trata-se de uma e l e i c a o para d e c i d i r sobre a e x i s t e n c i a de " s u i t e s " na sua zona r e s i d e n c i a l . Se quizer maiores informacoes, telefone para o M u l t i l i n g u a l S o c i a l S o c i a l Service 254-9626 

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