Burnaby’s Secondary Suite Program Gets Off the Ground

Secondary suites are now going to be legal in Burnaby. After an overwhelming positive response from the public, the city has just signed off on a secondary suite program, the final details of which will be ready by January. This is good news for property owners looking to add a suite to their single family home or to legalize an existing one (as of last count, there are around 5,878 unauthorized secondary suites in the city). Here are the highlights of the proposed amendments under the new program:

Zoning Bylaw

  • Secondary suites in single-family dwellings will be permitted in these zoning districts: R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R9, R10, R11, R12, A1, A2, A3, RM3 and RM6.
  • Suites will have a minimum size of 32 m² (344 sq. ft.) and a maximum size of 40% of the house’s total liveable floor area or 90 m2 (970 sq. ft.), whichever is less.
  • Provision will be made for additional off-street parking space for suite occupants, with feasibility exemptions.
  • Restrictions will apply on home-based businesses. Homes with secondary suites won’t be able to get licences for: boarding house, child-care facility/center, any home-based occupations that will involve on-site client services.
  • Non-resident property owners who are renting out both the principal residence and its secondary suite will be required to acquire a Home Rental Business Licence.

Building Permit Process

  • Owners of single-family residences that have existing unauthorized secondary suites will have the chance to get a Building Permit in order to legalize their suites.
  • Complimentary suite feasibility reports will be provided by the City for the first two years of the program to help owners in legalizing their existing suites.
  • The Building Department will review applications for new and existing suites using Section 9.36 of the BC Building Code as the guide.

Secondary Suite Fees

Licence and utility fees for dwellings with secondary suites will include:

  • A supplementary utility fee, which will be approximate to 50% of the single-family residence charge. 
  • One medium-sized garbage toter (established charge of $205.00)
  • All charges would be subject to annual rate increases
  • The Business Licence for non-resident property owners will include the application fee of $270.00 and an annual renewal fee of $92.00.

The Building Permit Fee Schedule for Building Permit applications, whether for new secondary suites or for legalization of existing suites, will apply.

I’ll be keeping you posted on any further updates, so check back often or get in touch with me anytime.

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