It’s not news that unauthorized basement suites in West Vancouver are illegal. The building code states that a property‘s main living space, which includes the bedroom, must be fully egressable. This is a major concern for building officials, as it’s a key safety measure. Buildings should also have fire sprinklers, smoke detectors, double-paned windows, HRV (heat recovery ventilators), and heated floors.
Legalization of unauthorized basement suites in Vancouver
Homeowners who own an unauthorized secondary suite can face a number of challenges. For instance, the suite might not be permitted for short-term rentals. This can hurt your chances of getting mortgage financing. It can also cause insurance rejection. In addition, illegal secondary suites can also cost you time and money to legalize.
If you are considering selling your home, you may want to look into legalizing your unauthorized basement suite. Legalization will ensure that your house meets the standards set by provincial regulations.
The City of Vancouver is responsible for inspecting and licensing basement suites. These suites are required to pass certain safety standards before tenants can move in. To get a license, you will need to apply for an initial inspection. You will then be given advice on how to comply with the Vancouver Secondary Suite program.
If you are unsure about whether your basement suite is legal, you should ask your building department. They will be able to provide you with information about how to get the appropriate permits.
In some cases, it can cost hundreds of dollars to legalize your suite. However, it can be a worthwhile investment. Not only can you protect your property’s value, but you can reduce your neighbours’ complaints.
Many homeowners don’t declare their suites because they think the costs are too high. Others haven’t heard about the legalization process.
But there are benefits to legalizing your unauthorized basement suite. Among other things, it can save you time and stress.
Sanctions against short-term rentals in West Vancouver
The city of Vancouver is stepping up its efforts to enforce illegal short-term rentals. The number of such complaints has increased significantly this year, with 55 recorded so far, according to the city.
As of August, there were over 2,500 active listings on the popular vacation rental platform AirBnB in Vancouver. That’s up from about 19 last year.
In one case, a 114-year-old house in East 19th Avenue was recently inspected by the city. An inspector found the basement suite was not in compliance with regulations. After the inspection, the short-term rental business licence was suspended.
Another case was a British Properties mansion, where a resident was given a $250 fine for renting out his home to visitors. It was not permitted by the city.
A 14-year-old girl used her parents’ credit card to rent the house. However, she did not have a valid licence, and the building had no permits.
According to Vancouver’s chief licensing inspector Andreea Toma, the top three violations of illegal short-term rentals are unlicensed, unsafe buildings, and high numbers of people residing in the home. City staff have created a list of illegal suites and will be working to stop them.
A Green Party Councillor, Adriane Carr, said she has received numerous calls from residents who enjoy renting their houses out. She said the city could use its resources to enforce the bylaw.
In a memo sent to councillors, Vancouver city staff described the cases that they have investigated, as well as their findings. This includes the fact that two decks were built without permits.
City inspectors have also discovered backyard storage sheds that don’t have bathrooms. They’ve also found properties that are listed as short-term accommodations with more than 10 units on the market at once.
Fire sprinklers, smoke detectors, double-paned windows, HRV (heat recovery ventilators) and heated floors
The first basement suites in Vancouver emerged in the Second World War. They were built according to the strict building codes. Today, however, many communities have removed sprinklers from newly built homes.
Recently, the Vancouver City Council began to consider shutting down new basement suites. While some believe this is a counterintuitive move, Mayor Kennedy Stewart has stated that he will be boosting housing in the city.
In March 2017, Adriane Carr introduced a motion to the Vancouver council that would allow existing, legal non-conforming suites to continue. The motion also called for a study on the issue.
One of the most common causes of moisture problems in homes is air leaks. This could be due to plumbing leaks, high water tables, thermal bridging, or poor ventilation.
If you have a moisture problem, the best way to treat it is to address the cause. For example, if you have a moisture problem in your home, you may want to replace the windows, install a heat recovery ventilator, or have a condensing boiler installed.
Fire sprinklers, smoke detectors, double-paned windows, and heated floors are among the measures that can help prevent a fire. A good place to buy these products is a hardware store or a home improvement store.
Ensure that you have good quality smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors in your home. These detectors should be located near each sleeping area, and you should change the batteries every year or so.
It is also recommended that you have your fire escape plan reviewed twice a year. Make sure that all windows and doors are securely closed and that you call 911 in the event of a fire.
Bedroom egress is a primary concern of building officials
It’s no secret that occupants of any given dwelling need to be able to get out of the house in a hurry. This is not something a do-it-yourselfer can take for granted. For that reason, codes aplenty are on hand to ensure the good stuff stays where it belongs. Keeping in mind that fire codes and health and safety are top of mind, there are many safety stipulations to look out for. The most important of all is ensuring that the proper safety measures are in place.
Building codes also take into account the occupants of any given structure. As with any home improvement project, a well-defined plan will go a long way in ensuring the long term success of any endeavor. Whether you are repairing a home or building a new one, a thorough inspection will be in order. During this process, you will have a chance to test the water before it’s too late. If you happen to own property in a hurricane-prone locale, a hurricane shutter should be at the top of your list. Likewise, a plethora of safety measures should be in place during even a light snob event. In other words, you want to be prepared for anything. You can do that by installing hurricane-safe glass and using manual cranks on doors and windows.
Keeping in mind the fact that occupants of any given home or office are bound to make mistakes and have a propensity for mishaps, the prudent decision maker should be armed with a foolproof plan for dealing with the worst that nature can throw at you.
Sanctions against short-term rentals in Burnaby
As Burnaby tries to find ways to deal with the growing number of short-term rentals in the city, the municipality has introduced new regulations. These restrictions aim to minimize disruptions and ensure long-term housing supply.
According to city staff, the new regulation focuses on preserving the residential essence of neighborhoods and maintaining a strong rental stock. It also aims to address possible neighbourhood concerns.
The bylaw restricts short-term rentals to rental units and primary residences. Operators will be required to have a business licence. In addition, all advertising must include the licence number.
Short-term rentals would be limited to 28 days out of a calendar year, and only to accommodate four unrelated people. In addition, short-term rentals are not allowed in secondary suites or flex units.
Burnaby residents can currently list their homes on online platforms like Airbnb. However, they must have the permission of the landlord.
The municipality is working with a third-party data monitoring firm to gather more data about the local short-term rental industry. The data will be used to develop a program that would be presented to the City Council.
The City Council approved amendments to the Burnaby Business Licence Bylaw and Burnaby Zoning Bylaw. This will allow the city to impose bylaw enforcement on the use of short-term rentals.
A recent court decision has upheld the strata corporation’s restrictions on short-term rentals. Strata corporations are permitted to impose fines of up to $1,000 per day for non-compliance.
Short-term rentals are also banned in purpose-built rental buildings. They are prohibited in seniors’ and carriage homes.
In response to the growth of online platforms, the municipality implemented the Burnaby Municipal Framework. Essentially, the framework aims to prevent the spread of illegal activity by prohibiting the posting of listings of private homes as tourist accommodations.
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.