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Secondary Suite Program

In 2014, City Council adopted a comprehensive program to permit secondary suites in single-family homes. Since then, the City has issued over 1,000 permits for the construction of secondary suites in either new or existing residences. The Program is a response to recommendations from within Burnaby’s Official Community Plan and Social Sustainability Strategy. Under the program, owners of single-family residential properties can:

  • construct a suite as part of a new single family home;
  • renovate an existing home to include a suite; or
  • obtain permits to legalize an existing suite.

The program recognizes that 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.

Secondary suites are subject to zoning regulations, building regulations, and licensing regulations. They are also subject to supplementary utility charges. Secondary suites are expected to be safe and neighbourly; complaints about secondary suites and safety issues are enforced.

Overall, the program aims to:

  • increase safety standards for homeowners and tenants;
  • protect affordable housing options;
  • ensure that neighbourhood impacts are minimized;
  • provide for fair and equitable utility and permit fees;
  • assist property owners with legalization efforts; and,
  • focus on citizen ‘complaint-based’ enforcement priorities.

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