A secondary suite is a self-contained accessory dwelling unit, located within a single-detached home ( sometimes referred to as a "basement suite"), row hourse, or duplex. It has a separate kitchen, sleeping, and bathing facilities. The suite must have at least one access door leading directly outside the suite. A secondary suite does not have a Certificate of Titles and it cannot be strata titled. A secondary suite will be assigned a separate address at the building permit stage.
Review the Getting Started page for frequently asked questions and the potential benefits of accessory dwelling units.
How do I know if my existing Secondary Suite is Legal?
To determine if your suite was constructed with a permit and if not, what your next steps are to ensure your suite meets the BC Building Code, contact Development Services:
You should book a pre-inspection with the Building Department to determine if the existing construction and materials meet the BC Building Code standards. To book an inspection, contact the Building Department:
Fee Exemption Notice
Until the end of 2022, building permit fees will be waived to convert an illegal suite to a legal suite or create a new suite in the existing house. Following the two year grace period, there will be a surcharge added to permits for illegal suites that have not complied.
Developing a Secondary Suite
Check out the City's Accessory Dwelling Unit How-To Guide and Creating or Legalizing a secondary suite information guide for more in-depth information.
The guide includes pre-planning considerations, including the steps involved to build an accessory dwelling unit, servicing feasibility, zoning bylaw regulations, design tips, getting your permits, useful resources, and questions to ask yourself when considering your future responsibilities as a landlord.
If you have any questions or are interested in discussing the possibility of a suite, contact Development Services:
For questions regarding the Building Code, contact the Building Department:
If you own a rental property with two units and you do not live in one of the units OR if you own a rental property with more than two units, you must obtain an Accommodation Business License. To discuss what you may need before applying for a Business License, contact the Bylaw Department at: