The Township of Langley is largely a rural municipality. Within it, rural properties with RU-zoning permit a wide variety of business and agricultural uses but also enable a distinct kind of streamlined development as a result of their explicit permissibility to build two detached single-family homes per lot.
RU property zones have existed in the Township for many decades. They are thought to have been originally created in order to facilitate multigenerational living for farming families; wherein aged children with families of their own could build a second home on family property to assist in providing care for their parents as well as the family farm. Over the years, as the Township limited allowable property uses for certain lands through restrictive zoning bylaws, some rural farm properties with RU-class property zoning retained their original zoning as subdivision into smaller parcels ensued.
Nowadays, practically speaking, this valuable zoning remnant can offer a significant benefit to both discerning current and prospective owners of rural property in the Township of Langley.
Via a legal process known as stratification, owners of some properties that have RU zoning and two detached homes may register a strata plan comprising two strata lots and receive two separately titled detached strata home properties. These strata properties may be individually sold, purchased, leased, or rented without the permission of the other detached strata lot homeowner. The creation of these detached strata lots may occur through either one of two methods:
Detached Home Stratification Method #1: The building of two new single-family homes on a vacant stratifiable parcel of land.
Development through this method means that the Township of Langley is not required to be involved in nor approve the registration of a detached home strata plan if two new homes are being constructed and are not lived in prior to applying to stratify the homes. Homeowners are advised to retain a real estate or property lawyer for assistance in the strata plan registration process. We can refer experienced legal, building, and land surveying consultants to help guide you through the development process with the Township of Langley’s Permit, License, and Inspection Services division to obtain a building permit to construct the two dwellings to be stratified.
Detached Home Stratification Method #2: The building of one new single-family home on a property containing an existing dwelling.
Stratification through this method requires that the existing dwelling be able to pass municipal inspection to ensure the dwelling to be retained complies with modern building code. After a new second dwelling is constructed, an application to the Township of Langley’s Development Services department can be made to apply for the strata conversion.
Stratification of property by either method also requires the registration of a One Dwelling Covenant on the property title of both strata lots. This covenant prudently restricts each newly created stratified parcel to permit just one dwelling going forward in an effort to prohibit perpetual stratification of the original lot and help maintain the rural character across the Township that Langley is perhaps best well-known for.
Furthermore, additional documentation may be required on a site-by-site basis, such as a Streamside Protection Covenant for properties whereon there is a watercourse or, in the same way, where a property is tributary to one.
Detached Home Stratification provides a way for landowners to benefit from the provisions of the Strata Property Act. While relatively less common than other forms of strata property such as bare land and condominium or townhome-type strata property, detached home stratification has the ability to offer an advantage when it comes to cost, ease of implementation, and long-term value for owners of stratifiable properties of various sizes.
Rural Property Zoning Bylaws for the Township of Langley can be found in the Stratifiable Property Zones page on this website. Each zone offers varying benefits but also potentially drawbacks, depending on the needs of an individual property owner. It is important to contact real estate professionals such as myself to help guide you and your family through a prospective purchase of a stratifiable property; or, as an existing owner of one, the stratification process to realize greater potential of your land.
Overall, development of detached strata homes is significantly streamlined relative to traditional development involving formal subdivision of single-family homes. While the latter generally requires formal public consultation and payment of expensive development cost charges, property stratification offers a simplified and more affordable development alternative.