What is a 1/2 Duplex?


East Vancouver Property: 1/2 Duplex (or Half Duplex)

There are many 1/2 Duplexes scattered across East Vancouver, and that number is only growing as small scale Developer’s look to maximize the revenue and build potential on East Vancouver Lots. What is a 1/2 Duplex? It is one house with two separate homes, either built side-by-side (sharing a wall and the roof) or one on top of the other (sharing the roof). The size of the lot typically determines the orientation of the Duplex, meaning, a wide lot with significant frontage to the street will have side by side 1/2 Duplexes, whereas a lot that is long and narrow will have the 1/2 Duplexes stacked, or will build a front and back 1/2 Duplex.

The photo above, of one half of a 2012-Built Duplex in East Vancouver, is a side by side duplex. Each unit has their own garage, portion of the driveway and fenced backyard.

City of Vancouver 1/2 Duplex Guide

1/2 Duplexes are also known as “Two Family Dwellings” in Vancouver (Zoning Code RT-) . Based on City of Vancouver Development Standards, each 1/2 Duplex should have it’s own private outdoor space to provide for the wide variety of outdoor activities that households pursue. Some privacy in outdoor spaces is important allowing for privacy and the ability for residents to express individuality and self-expression.

Each 1/2 Duplex also requires it’s own front door and they usually have their own parking spot (whether a garage, or dedicated spot in a driveway). Typically, 1/2 Duplexes are built to be of similar sizes with the same materials (which aids the developer’s during the build). They are built so that each unit has their own building components (i.e. hot water tank, heating, electrical panel, etc), meaning the 1/2 Duplexes only share the roof, building exterior (often each 1/2 Duplex maintains their own windows) and common yard or driveways. Because of this separation, and the desire to create separate (yet adjoining) home for the residents, Duplexes are a non conforming Strata, meaning the residents don’t have to have monthly meetings, or report on their financials like typical Strata (multiple dwelling) residents do. Instead, once the common elements need repair or maintenance, the residents of each 1/2 Duplex have to agree on the maintenance and financial plan.

Of course, like all development permits in Vancouver, Duplexes may be subject to matching a certain style of architecture or design in order to suit the neighbourhood.

See the City’s website for more information about the City of Vancouver’s 1/2 Duplex requirements.


This 1/2 Duplex is a Front and Back Duplex, meaning the Front Unit has private access to the front yard, whereas the Back property has private use of the Backyard. The two single car garages are facing the lane in the back. There are pros and cons to each home: the front unit is North facing and has the good street appeal, whereas the back unit has the sunny south facing exposure with the more private backyard.

1/2 Duplexes are great for people who want the feel of a detached house: families who need extra space but cannot yet afford their own lot, or down-sizers who want the feel of a house without the unnecessary space.

Search all 1/2 Duplexes for Sale in East Van.

If you have any questions about 1/2 Duplexes in East Vancouver, send the WeLoveEastVan team a message. With the number of new Half Duplexes hitting the market, we can help decipher value, the intricacies surrounding purchasing newly built homes and the information you need to know regarding 1/2 Duplex ownership.

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