If you have a basement apartment, you might want to know if it’s legal. The answer depends on your city’s zoning bylaw.
To have a suite considered legal, the suite must adhere to zoning bylaws and meet BC building codes. It also needs to have all permits and inspections completed.
What is a Legal Suite?
A Legal Suite, or in-law suite as it is more commonly known, is an additional living space that is attached to a primary home. It may be used as a secondary living space, or in some cases it can also be used to provide additional income for the primary owner of the property. If you are thinking of buying or building a house with a suite, it is important to know all of the rules and regulations before making the investment.
One of the most popular types of legal suites are secondary living spaces, which have become more common as an attractive way for real estate investors to recoup some of their investment dollars. The best part is that they are allowed in Canada and are not against the law. However, there are some things that you need to know before going in for a legal suite, and the City of Surrey is here to help.
What are the Legal Requirements for a Legal Suite?
If you’re considering purchasing a property with a legal suite, it’s important to know the legal requirements that apply. These include zoning bylaws, BC building codes and obtaining all the required permits. You’ll also want to have a qualified inspector come out and make sure your home is in compliance with these standards before you move forward.
A secondary suite or garden suite is considered legal when it adheres to all zoning bylaws, BC building code and has been completed with all the necessary permits. This includes the installation of all electrical and plumbing work, an inspection by a qualified inspector and a final occupancy permit from the city.
In addition to meeting the basic legal requirements, you should also consider the features that will make your suite more appealing to renters. These may include a kitchen, living room or extra bedroom space. You’ll also want to contact a licensed general contractor to assess the home and make a list of upgrades that would be needed. These can range from a minor kitchen renovation to redoing the electrical wiring in the entire house. This will help you determine what upgrades you’ll need to make before moving forward with the legalization process.
What are the Legal Requirements for a Garden Suite?
If you are considering building a garden suite on your property, it is important to understand the legal requirements for this type of development. In the city of Toronto, garden suites (aka laneway homes or granny flats) are allowed as a secondary dwelling unit for owners of single detached, semi-detached and townhouses.
Garden suites are accessory dwelling units that have cooking facilities, washroom, living, and sleeping areas separate from the main home on the property. They are generally smaller than the main house and are often used as rental or family units, especially for students or young families.
In order to build a garden suite on your lot, you will need to obtain a development permit. This will allow you to design your suite and determine if it will meet the building code and the requirements of the neighbourhood.
One of the most important aspects to consider when planning your garden suite is its size and height. The maximum garden suite height can vary depending on the area of your lot. You must ensure that the structure will not be too high or too close to your neighbours.
You should also consider whether there are any trees on your property that will be affected by the construction. You can find more information about tree requirements in the Zoning Bylaw, and you will need to ensure that your garden suite won’t damage or injure any trees that are protected by the city.
It is recommended that you use a contractor that has experience working with these types of structures. They will be able to help you plan and navigate the process of building your garden suite, as well as handle all the necessary paperwork and licensing.
Another important factor to keep in mind when planning your garden suite is parking. You will need to ensure that there is enough parking for both the suite and your primary home. This is an important consideration if you live on a street that is already hard to park on, or if you have a lot of trees.
What are the Legal Requirements for a Secondary Suite?
In Canada, a secondary suite is a self-contained living unit that can be offered for rent to a third party by the owner of the primary dwelling. Rules regarding secondary suites vary between provinces and municipalities, but they are an important supply of affordable rental housing in many cities, such as Vancouver and Edmonton.
There are also various provincial and municipal financing programs that can help homeowners get the money needed to build these extra suites. These programs include monetary and financing incentives, and even the possibility of a partial refund or elimination of fees connected to obtaining secondary suite permits.
Depending on your province and municipality, there are specific requirements you must follow before building your suite, such as an independent entrance, heating and plumbing systems, and proper lighting. You must also meet any safety or health regulations that apply to the area.
For example, if you live in Canmore, you may qualify for a program that will pay you up to 50% of eligible construction costs for creating an accessory dwelling unit. However, you must be a low-income homeowner, live in the primary dwelling full time, and be willing to enter into a formal agreement with Manitoba Housing.
Another thing to consider is whether the zoning of your property allows you to construct a secondary suite. If it does, you must follow the specific zoning bylaws that govern your home’s zoning. These bylaws will regulate the size, shape and location of the secondary suite, as well as the number of parking spaces that can be provided on your property.
If you don’t comply with the zoning bylaws, your secondary suite could be considered illegal by the municipality. This can be very costly, so you should check with a land use attorney before constructing your secondary suite. Alternatively, you can ask your local zoning official for advice on your options.
Among many other things, David A. Grantham is a contributing author to UmassExtension West Vancouver Blo. He is a renowned expert on real estate in BC.
Born in North Vancouver, Louisiana, Dr. Grantham grew up in Lower Lonsdale. He then went on to complete his business degree at the University British Columbia. As of this writing, Grantham has completed over 100 projects, including the development of a high rise building in Vancouver.
He is a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He was a dedicated outdoorsman and enjoyed sports such as hunting, fishing, scuba diving, and snow skiing. His wife, Alison Grantham, and their two daughters survived him. He is survived by his wife Alison Martin Grantham and two daughters.