Secondary Suites

A secondary suite is a self-contained, accessory dwelling unit located within a single-detached house (sometimes referred to as a “basement suite”). 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 Title and it cannot be stratified. A secondary suite will be assigned a separate address at the building permit.

To create a legal suite, you must obtain a Building Permit. As well, your property must be zoned to allow a secondary suite.

Review the Getting Started page for frequently asked questions and the potential benefits of accessory dwelling units.

Developing a Secondary Suite

Check out the City’s full Accessory Dwelling Unit How-To guide for more in-depth information. 

The guide includes pre-planning considerations, including the steps involved to build n 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.

Contact the Development Department at 250-992-2111 and if you have any questions or are interested in discussing the possibility of a suite.

For questions regarding the Building Code, contact the Building Department at at 250-992-2111 and

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 LicenseTo discuss what you may need before applying for a Business License, contact the Bylaw Department at 250-992-2111 or

Current Built-in Suites Without a Permit

If you have a pre-existing suite that was constructed without a building permit, it was built illegally. This can lead to issues such as safety (both for your tenant and you), insurance protection, home value, and penalties upon complaint. Your suite will need to come into compliance or be removed.

You should book a pre-inspection with the Building Department to determine the existing construction and materials needed to bring your suite back up to Code. To book a meeting contact the Building Department at 250-992-2111 or

Grace period

Starting in 2020, there will be a grace period of two years on building permit fees to convert an illegal suite to a legal suite. Following the two year grace period, there will be a surcharge added to permits for illegal suites that have not complied.