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Secondary Suites and Guest Cottages

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Secondary Suites

A secondary suite is a self-contained dwelling unit, with no more than two bedrooms, located entirely within a single family residential dwelling.

Secondary suites are the second largest proportion of housing rental stock in the Capital Regional District. Allowing secondary suites is one of the most effective tools for providing affordable housing. This form of housing is low impact and integrates affordable housing into neighbourhoods. Additionally it provides flexibility for families to age in place and have additional support from family members.

Secondary suites are permitted in the following zones:

  • Rural Agricultural Zones: RA-1, RA-2, RA-3, RA-4, RA-5, and RA-6
  • Single Family Residential Zones: R-1, R-2 and R-3
  • Comprehensive Development Zones: CD-1, CD-3, CD-4, CD-5 and CD-6

See our Guide to Secondary Suites for quick information on Secondary Suites. Please also refer to Section 206 of Zoning Bylaw No 1255 for a complete listing of regulations.

Permitting Process

Every owner of a single family residential dwelling that contains or is to contain a secondary suite must hold a valid and current secondary suite permit.

  • Review the requirements in the Guide to Secondary Suites and make sure you can comply with them
  • Consult a building professional — Builder, Building Designer, Architect — to learn what you need to meet relevant BC Building Code requirements
  • Complete and submit a Building Permit application and pay required fee
  • Complete and submit a Secondary Suite Permit Application and Renewal form and pay required fee
  • A covenant under Section 219 of the Land Title Act is required if the secondary suite is part of construction of a new single family dwelling

Approval

  • Building Inspection staff review the submitted material and do the necessary inspections
  • If the property owner meets all requirements an Occupancy Permit for the secondary suite and as well as the Secondary Suite Permit will be issued

Issuance Information

  • Upon issuance, provided that a permit has not been revoked or suspended, the Secondary Suite Permit will be automatically renewed annually on January 1st without charge
  • If the holder of a Secondary Suite Permit sells the property to a new owner a new Secondary Suite Permit Application must be received within 30 days

Bylaws

Secondary Suite Bylaw No. 1244
Zoning Bylaw No 1255.

Guest Cottages

A guest cottage is a self-contained dwelling unit accessory to a principal dwelling unit situated on the same lot. Guest cottages much like secondary suites are an effective tool to provide for affordable housing.

Guest cottages are permitted within the following zones only on parcels greater than 0.4 hectares:

  • Rural Agricultural Zones: RA-2, RA-6 only in compliance with the Agricultural Land Commission regulations
  • Single Family Residential Zones: R-2 and R-3

See our Guide to Guest Cottages for quick information on Guest Cottages. Please also refer to Section 204 of Zoning Bylaw No 1255. for a complete listing of regulations.

Permitting Process

  • Review the requirements of Section 204 in the Zoning Bylaw No 1255. and make sure you can comply with them
  • Consult a building professional — Builder, Building Designer, Architect — to learn what you need to meet relevant BC Building Code requirements
  • Complete and submit a Building Permit application and pay required fee
  • A covenant under Section 219 of the Land Title Act is required for new construction 

For more information, please contact the Planning and Community Services department.

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