Secondary Suite Program
Like all housing, secondary suites must be regulated. The city adopted a Secondary Suite program in 1999 and it is designed to balance the needs of the homeowner with the health and safety requirements that apply to all housing. Neighbourhoods must also be protected from potential negative impacts that unregulated suites may cause such as parking congestion, noise and unsightly premises.
There are a number of advantages to legalizing a secondary suite in your home and most of them relate to the protection of your financial investment and, most importantly, the safety of your home’s occupants – both your family and your tenants’.
What is a Secondary Suite?
A secondary suite is a separate living area contained within a single family dwelling and functions as a self-contained living unit complete with a kitchen, bathroom and at least one bedroom.
Secondary suites are permitted in most single-family homes in residential zones.
Secondary Suite Handout in Farsi.
Secondary Suite Handout in Chinese.
Secondary Suite Handout in Korean.
If your home was built before July 1, 2000 a few building code regulations that apply are different than if the home was built after this date. The main reason for separate regulations is to take into account that older homes, particularly those built before 1970, were built under very different construction standards.
How the City Can Help You
The Building Division provides a construction assessment service where a Building and Plumbing Inspector will come to your home to assess the area the suite will be occupied. The purpose of the assessment is to provide advice on what upgrading work is needed for the suite to comply with current home regulations. A written report is provided that outlines the scope of work, which trades are required for specific items and a general cost estimate.
The City’s Secondary Suite program brochure provides application details further information to determine your requirements, alternative regulations and the steps required to decommission a secondary suite.
Building Permits Division