Residential Suites Frequently Asked Questions

Can I have a suite?

If you have or are building a single-family home and your lot is in a zone that permits a residential suite and
your lot complies with zoning regulations, then you may be eligible to have a residential suite. However, this
does not mean that your suite is legal. A legal residential suite is a suite that complies with zoning regulations
and that has been constructed to BC Building Code (BCBC) requirements under a valid building permit.

What zone do I live in?

You can check your zoning and property information on CityMap, the City’s web mapping application. It allows users to view zoning, land use, utilities, community facilities, development applications, historical maps, and other helpful information on a property-by-property basis.

My home is in a zone that permits a suite. Is my suite legal?

Though your home may be on a lot where a suite is permitted under the zoning regulations, this only means
that a suite is a permitted use of land on your lot. You will still need to obtain a building permit (and other
necessary permits) to construct the suite or to legalize an existing suite, and to obtain occupancy following
a final inspection when the suite is completed to BCBC standards. A suite constructed without a building
permit is considered “construction without permit” and is not a legal residential suite.

How many people can live in my suite?

The maximum occupancy of a single-family home with a residential suite is one family in the principal
dwelling (the main part of the single-family home) and one family in the suite (a second dwelling unit
within the single-family home). The Zoning Bylaw’s definition of “family” has no limit on the number of
people sharing a dwelling unit who are related by blood, marriage, adoption, or a foster care agreement;
for unrelated people, the limit is three or less people per dwelling unit. If a homeowner rents out both the
principal building and the residential suite (whether it is a secondary, garden, or carriage suite) to unrelated
people, the maximum occupancy will be three people in the principal building and three people in the suite.

What are the regulations for in-law suites?

The City identifies three types of residential suites—secondary suites, garden suites, and carriage suites.
Definitions for these three types of suites can be found in the Guide to Residential Suites. In-law suites are not a distinct type of suite recognized by the City.

I’ve heard the terms “boarders or lodgers.” What is the difference between a boarder or lodger and an individual(s) renting my suite?

A boarder or lodger is a renter living in a room without a kitchen in a home occupied by a family to which
the renter is not related by blood or marriage (a maximum of two boarders or lodgers are permitted in a
home). A residential suite is a dwelling unit with sleeping and washroom areas as well as a kitchen. Boarders
and lodgers are not permitted on a lot with a residential suite. There are also no additional off-street parking
requirements for homes with boarders or lodgers, while a home with a residential suite must provide a third
parking space (except in certain situations as outlined in the parking section of the Guide to Residential Suites).

My neighbour (or their tenant) keeps parking a car in front of my house. Can I get Bylaw Services to ticket or tow the vehicle?

There is no private ownership over on-street parking. Someone parking in front of your home is generally
not a bylaw infraction. Try speaking with your neighbour and seeing if you can address the issue. Check out
on-street parking regulations in the Traffic Bylaw.

Why are carriage suites not permitted in all of the same zones that permit secondary suites and garden suites?

Garden and carriage suites are accessory residential dwelling units that are intended to be subordinate to
(smaller than) the principal dwelling (the single-family home). Many residential neighbourhoods still feature
bungalows and one-storey single-family homes. As a two-storey carriage suite may have a more significant
impact on form and character in these neighbourhoods than a one-storey garden suite, they will continue to
require a rezoning and Public Hearing process (except in the RS-1S zone, where they are already permitted).

Why are residential suites not permitted in suburban or rural areas?

Water systems in most suburban and rural areas have limited capacity and are not designed for increased
density. KAMPLAN focuses population growth in urban neighbourhoods with access to transit, community
services, shopping, and employment. Adding density in urban areas makes it easier and more convenient
for residents living in those areas to walk, cycle, or use transit to commute or get to key destinations, which,
in turn, helps reduce emissions from single-occupancy vehicle trips and contributes to a more healthy and
sustainable community.

Can I have a suite on my panhandle lot?

No. Residential suites are only permitted on lots with a minimum 15 m (just under 50 ft.) in street frontage and 464 m2 (just under 5,000 sq. ft.) in lot area.

I have two dogs living in my home. Can I have tenants living in my suite who have dogs of their own?

No. A maximum of two dogs over the age of six months are allowed per parcel of land. These same limits
apply to cats. Registered guide dogs and personal assistance dogs are exempt from the limit.

Will I receive a second garbage container for my suite?

Homeowners wishing to acquire a second garbage container for their tenant(s) need to order them. For each
garbage container ordered, a recycling cart must also be ordered. Each garbage and recycling container
comes with a collection fee based on the size of the container (garbage containers come in different sizes
and all recycling containers are 245 L in size). Please call the Civic Operations Centre at 250-828-3461
between 8:00 am and 4:00 pm, Monday to Friday, to order additional garbage and recycling containers.