What is a secondary suite?

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Adding a Secondary Suite to your home

A Secondary Suite is a separate dwelling inside a single detached house with separate cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities.

Secondary Suites must have an entrance separate from the primary house, either from a common indoor landing or directly from the side or rear of the house.

A Secondary Suite can be created through the conversion or development of a basement or other interior space.

Duplexes, semi-detached houses, townhouses and apartments do not qualify for Secondary Suites, Garage Suites, or Garden Suites.

What is a garage suite?

A Garage Suite is a dwelling located above or attached to the side or rear of a detached garage which is accessory to a single detached house. A Garage Suite has separate cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities.

A Garage Suite has an entrance either from a common indoor landing or directly from the exterior of the garage that is separate from the vehicle entrance to the garage.

What is a garden suite?

A Garden Suite is a self-contained, single-storey dwelling which is separate from the principal single detached house. It has separate cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities.

What are the benefits of developing secondary suites?

Secondary suites provide affordable rental accommodation and can be developed relatively quickly compared to other forms of rental housing.  Also, the rent that homeowners collect from a suite helps pay their mortgage, making home ownership more affordable.

Please refer to the diagrams below for a graphic illustration of each of the above.

Secondary Suite Types

Secondary suites are regulated under Section 9.36 of the BC Building Code. Most local governments that permit secondary suites adopt the definition contained in the BC Building Code which reads as follows: A Secondary Suite is an additional dwelling within a single family dwelling: With a total floor space not exceeding 970 sq. ft. (90 sq. m); Occupying not more than 40% of habitable floor space of the building; Located in a building of residential occupancy containing a maximum of one other dwelling unit; and Located in and part of a building which is a single real estate entity.

 

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