A Secondary Suite is any dwelling unit containing cooking facilities, food prep area, sleeping, and sanitary facilities that is physically separate and/or subordinate to those of the principal house. A secondary suite does not include a boarding or lodging house, duplex dwelling, semi-detached home, multi-unit home, townhouse or apartment.
After carefully considering the value and potential dangers of suites, City Council passed a Secondary Suites policy and added a standard to the Land Use Bylaw in order to regulate Secondary Suites. This policy aims to:
- Enhance the safety of tenants by ensuring suites meet applicable safety code standards;
- Minimize insurance risks and exposure to liability for suite owners;
- Recognize and uphold the value of suites as an attainable housing choice; and,
- Provide residents that live near suites options regarding the protection of their properties from negative impacts that may arise from delinquent suite owners and/or tenants.
- A suite can only be developed on a lot containing a single detached dwelling, which does not include mobile homes.
- If the main part of a single detached dwelling containing a suite is rented as well, the owner must obtain a business licence.
- One parking stall per bedroom must be provided on the same lot as the suite.
- The maximum number of bedrooms in a secondary suite is three (3).
- The maximum number of bedrooms in a secondary suite in the Residential Small Lot Land Use District is one (1).
- A secondary suite cannot be located on the same lot as a home occupation 2 or 3.
- New secondary suites must meet all applicable fire and building code requirements.
- Existing suites developed before December 31, 2006 must meet all requirements of the fire code.
- Existing suites developed after December 31, 2006 must meet all requirements of the fire and building code requirements.
To review all of the requirements and types of allowable secondary suites, please review Section 14: Secondary Suites, under Schedule 4: Use Standards, of the Land Use Bylaw (PDF).
In order to bring a secondary suite into compliance, property owners must obtain a Development Permit from the City. The Development Permit Application will be reviewed by the Municipal Planning Commission to ensure the suite is appropriate for the property and the neighbourhood, and that it meets all the requirements of the Land Use Bylaw. Notification will be sent to neighbouring properties, asking for input, support or opposition.
Once a Development Permit has been approved, the property owner must obtain a Building Permit. The Building Permit Application will include an inspection from a Safety Codes Officer to ensure that the fire code and building code (if applicable) are met.