City of Vancouver Seeks Supreme Court of Canada Appeal on SRO Vacancy Control Decision

City Hall's 12th Avenue entrance
April 2 2024 –

Yesterday, the City of Vancouver filed an application to the Supreme Court of Canada seeking permission to appeal a recent judgment of the BC Court of Appeal that strikes down the City’s vacancy control bylaws. The Supreme Court will now have to decide whether it intends to hear the appeal.


The City’s 6,500 Single Room Occupancy (SRO) rooms have historically provided a housing of last resort before homelessness for the City’s very low-income residents, but many privately-owned SROs are becoming increasingly unaffordable to those on income assistance.  
In 2021, the Council adopted an SRO vacancy control policy and enacted the necessary amendments to the License By-Law to regulate rents between tenancies, which is not currently regulated by the Province or other levels of government.   
The regulations aim to slow speculative investment and rapidly rising rents in SRO buildings and prevent tenant displacement. 
The amendments to the License By-law that authorized Vacancy Control were struck down by the BC Supreme Court on August 3, 2022. The BC Court of Appeal upheld that decision on February 2, 2024.  
The City, in partnership with senior levels of government, remains committed to replacing SROs with self-contained, housing that is secure and affordable to low-income residents. Since the Vancouver Housing Strategy was approved in 2017, there has been a growing need for low-income housing, which means we continue to rely on SRO stock as housing despite its inherent challenges. As such, seeking to appeal the court decision related to SRO vacancy control is an important action to support housing affordability in the City.