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Secondary Suite Program

Secondary Suites – Potential Credit for 2019 Supplementary Utility Fees

Please note: If you were charged the 50% Water and Sewer Supplementary Utility Fees for a secondary suite or in-law suite in your house, you may be eligible for a credit or account adjustment if Burnaby City Council approves related proposed bylaw amendments at the April 8 Burnaby City Council meeting and if the suite:

  • was not rented between January 1 and April 1 2019,
  • is currently not rented, and
  • will not be rented at any time in 2019.

Information on this credit/account adjustment, together with a Declaration form, will be sent to property owners who were charged the Supplementary Utility Fees on their 2019 Utility Notice. To be considered for a credit/account adjustment, the Declaration form must be returned by April 30, 2019.

Property owners who return their Declaration by the due date and qualify will receive:

  • a credit of the Supplementary Utility Fees on their 2019 Property Tax Notice in early June, if they have already paid their 2019 Utility Notice; or
  • an account adjustment to their Utility Notice equal to the Supplementary Utility Fees, if they have not paid their 2019 Utility Notice.

View our frequently asked questions for more information. For additional assistance, please email secondarysuites@burnaby.ca or call 604-294-7350, or view the Council Report.

What is a Secondary Suite?

In Burnaby, a secondary suite is defined as “an accessory dwelling unit fully contained within a single family dwelling.”

 A secondary suite includes: 

  • One or more habitable rooms;
  • Bathroom facilities;
  • Kitchen or cooking facilities; and
  • A separate entrance, either interior or exterior.

Why are Secondary Suites permitted?

Secondary suites provide a number of benefits. They provide affordable rental housing, a “mortgage helper” for property owners, and can facilitate ageing in place. As such, secondary suites are valued by both homeowners and tenants.

Where can they be built?

Secondary suites are permitted within single-family dwellings in the following zones: R1, R2, R3, R4, R5, R6, R9, R10, R11, R12, A1, A2, A3, and RM6.

To find out the zone district for a property, go to BurnabyMap, click on the search button, and type in the address. It will be listed under Zoning in the right hand panel.

Are there any other requirements?

Requirements for secondary suites are provided in the Secondary Suite - Building Information Guide. Key considerations include:


The maximum size for a secondary suite is 90 m² (970 sq. ft.) or 40% of the total gross floor area of the principal building (whichever is less).

The minimum size for a secondary suite is 32 m2 (344 sq. ft.)

The minimum ceiling height is 2.0m (6.6 feet).


An additional off-street parking space will be required for the suite. This must not restrict access to other parking spaces.

Number of Suites:

Each single-family home can have one secondary suite or in-law suite, but not both.

Rental License:

If the owner does not live in the property a Home Rental Business License is required. This must be renewed annually.

BC Building Code:

Secondary suites must comply with the BC Building Code to ensure that they provide a safe and healthy living environment. Requirements include providing adequate fire separation, exit doors and windows, smoke alarms, heating and ventilation.


A building permit and any related plumbing, electrical, gas or heating permits are required. View more information »


Supplementary utility fees for water and sewer charges are billed with utility notices. View more information »

Contact Us

General or Building Permit Inquiries
Email: building@burnaby.ca
Telephone: 604-294-7130

Billing Inquiries
Email: secondarysuites@burnaby.ca
Telephone: 604-294-7350