Zoning in Residential Properties

When you think about Residential Real Estate Does Zoning come to your mind?


Zoning is a major factor in commercial real estate, it has a major effect on the type of businesses that can use designated areas of land. It limits a businesses location and can be a major factor in the business’s success.

But what about Residential Real Estate? How would Zoning affect your property?


In both Commercial and Residential properties, the zoning restricts the way the land is used in a city’s jurisdiction. For Example, in the City of Coquitlam it limits a properties:

  •   Intent
  •   Permitted Uses
  •   Conditions of Use
  •   Lot Size
  •   Density
  •   Lot Coverage
  •   Buildings per Lot
  •   Building Setbacks
  •   Location of Uses
  •   Height
  •   Building Size
  •   Off-Street Parking and Loading
  •   Other Regulations

Is your property conforming to the zoning bylaws? If it isn’t and is Destroyed, Vacant or Sold could it be “grandfathered” to be used the same way?  Has your property been rezoned or is it in the planning process to be rezoned? Are there limitations with your property that are different from your neighbours? These are important questions and we need to know answers to before your home goes to market.


What do potential buyers need to know about our zoning bylaws? and how will it affect their buying decisions?


A builder will want to know:

  • What type of building is allowed? Single Family? Multi-Family
  • Are there setbacks that could affect the size and placement of a home
  • Can a laneway home be built?
  • Would there be restrictions to rentals or suites?


 An Investor could be asking:

  • Are rentals suites allowed?
  • Is there an occupancy limitation?
  • Can individual rooms be rented?
  • Are there street parking limitations?
  • What are the tax implications for legal suites?
  • What happens if an existing non-conforming suite is “shut down”?
  • What does the future value look like on their investment?


What do potential buyers need to know about our zoning bylaws? and how will it affect their buying decisions? Cont.


1st Time buyers or Single-family residents might ask:

  • Are “mortgage helper” rental suites allowed?
  • Is there an occupancy limitation?
  • Will there be any neighbourhood changes?
  • Are the school catchments changing?
  • Could I run a home business or work from home?


We want to advertise the property in a way that maximizes its value and to do that we need to know our product and our best potential buyers. Knowing about the zoning of the property allows us to target the marketing program to the appropriate demographics maximizing the potential in the property. 


It is no secret that BC’s lower mainland is a hot commodity in the global market, and we are seeing changes rapidly happening in each of our neighbourhoods. It’s always best to be well informed and know what you are either buying or selling, this will help you immensely.


Don’t just list your property; research your neighbourhood and determine the best value and build on real opportunities. Two similar homes (size, age, rooms and condition) on the same street with slightly different lots, can have big value differences of $100,000 - $300,000. Make sure that you won’t be missing out on that potential value OR overpricing your property making it unattractive holding up your future.


So why isn’t zoning a bigger part of our conversation when we are talking about residential real estate? I think it should be!


Mike Bottom

Sutton Group - 1st West Realty



The information contained herein has been obtained through sources deemed reliable but cannot be guaranteed as to its accuracy. Any special interests should be obtained through independent verification.

This communication is not intended to cause or induce breach of an existing agency agreement.