Getting Started - Accessory Dwellings

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADUs) help create a variety of housing options within our community. ADUs include secondary suites, carriage houses, and secondary dwellings. 

ADUs are permitted in residential zones on lots with single-family detached homes.  Before building, you should understand the different types of ADUs allowed in our city, where they are permitted, and what you need for your building permit application.

Read The Suite Life in Quesnela short overview of accessory dwelling units.

Pre-Reviewed Accessory Dwellings Plans

The City of Quesnel has five pre-reviewed Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) plans available to residents for no charge, and building permits shall be expedited for a quick turnaround! There are two carriage house plans and three secondary dwellings to choose from.


Types of Accessory Dwelling Units
Secondary Suite

A secondary suite is a separate living area contained within a single-family home. It is a self-contained living unit with a kitchen, bathroom, and at least one bedroom. The suite must have at least one access door leading directly outside the suite.

Already have a secondary suite but are unsure if it is legal?

Learn More

Carriage House





A carriage house is an attached house located in conjunction with an accessory building (e.g. a garage). A carriage home is located on the same property as the principal dwelling.

Learn More

Secondary Dwelling





A secondary dwelling is a freestanding detached single-family home located on the same parcel as the principal dwelling. (Sometimes called a coach house in other municipalities).

Learn More

Steps to Develop an Accessory Dwelling Unit

Check your property’s zoning to find out what type of ADU you can build.

  1. If you are the owner contact Development Services before you start construction:
    PH: 250-992-2111 |  Email:
  2. Read the Snapshot on Accessory Dwelling Units.
  3. Apply for a building permit. Note that building permit fees are being waived for secondary suites until the end of 2022.
  4. Apply for an accommodation business licence, if you own a rental property with:
    • two units and you do not live in one of the units, or
    • more than two units.

Other Considerations

  • Consider servicing requirements, such as electrical, water and sewer.
  • Are you ready to be a landlord? Learn about your rights and responsibilities to a tenant in the Residential Tenancy Act.
Benefits of Accessory Dwelling Units
Affordable Rental

More ADUs increase the number of affordable housing units, providing more options for residents looking to rent.

Affordable Home Ownership

An ADU provides rental income for the homeowner, acting as a mortgage helper to make owning a home more attainable.

Housing for Individuals Living Alone and Seniors

An ADU can provide safe, affordable housing for seniors or individuals living alone. Additionally, individuals living alone or seniors who have a tenant in an ADU gain a level of comfort and income, allowing them to stay in their homes longer.

Housing for Students

Students need affordable rental housing as homeownership is often out of their reach. ADUs provide excellent options for students while they pursue their studies.


Leading on the path to sustainability, ADUs create more housing without requiring more land, helping to control sprawl into the rural areas.

Verifying a new home registration

Owner/builders creating secondary dwellings should review requirements for verifying a new home registration. 


Frequently Asked Questions
My neighbour has an existing suite and i think it is illegal. What should i do?

As zoning bylaws have changed over the years, it is difficult to tell if an existing suite is ‘illegal’ or not. Complaints would have to be investigated on a case-by-case basis. If you believe your neighbour is operating an illegal suite, contact the Building Department at 250-992-2111 or

Does having an ADU affect my property taxes?

BC Assessment is responsible for determining the value of your property for tax purposes. An increase in your assessment does not necessarily mean an increase in your property taxes. Property tax changes are generally impacted by your assessment's change relative to your community's average assessment change. Visit the BC Assessment website for further information on potential property tax implications.

Will property owners with suites pay their share of utilities and taxes?

Yes. The City charges water, sewer, and garbage rates for all known suites at the same rate as all other dwelling units. A house with a secondary suite will pay the same utility fees as a duplex. 

Do ADUs have to be registered or licensed with the city?

The building permitting process would be the primary ‘ADU registration’ process. All constructed ADUs will have to obtain a building permit. Tenants and home buyers are welcome to inquire with the City if a building permit was obtained. Additionally a business license is required if both the home and the secondary suite are rented out. This provides the City with additional tools for regulating properties with secondary suites that are not owner-occupied.

Is the owner of a residence with an accessory dwelling unit required to live on-site?

No - The owner is not required to live in either the secondary suite or the principal residence. Municipalities are discouraged from creating land-use policies that apply to some people (like homeowners residing in the house) and not to others – “people-zoning” is challengeable in court and difficult for a municipality to regulate from a bylaw perspective.

What are the parking requirements for ADUs?

All ADUs will be required to provide one additional off-street parking space. The parking space must not be in tandem with the principal dwelling, have access to a main road, and not rely on a laneway.

What do I do if my lot is not eligible?

Unfortunately, you will not be able to construct an accessory dwelling unit.

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