> Home > City Services > Building > Secondary Suite Program

City Services

Was this page helpful? Yes | No

Secondary Suite Program

Secondary Suites – Supplementary Utility Fees

2020 Program 

Annual Declaration: Starting in October 2019, owners of all Single Family and Two Family homes must complete an annual declaration, to confirm the rental status of any suite on the property for the 2020 calendar year. Declarations will be issued in early October 2019, and must be returned by November 30, 2019. 

It is important that home owners keep the city informed of changes in the rental status of their property, to ensure that supplemental utility charges are applied correctly. Adjustments made under this program will be reflected on Utility Notices in February 2020.

House Rental Business Licence: Pending final bylaw adoption by Council, commencing in 2020 a rental house not occupied by the owner, which may or may not contain a suite, will be required to obtain a House Rental Business Licence. The owner of a rental house will be required to obtain a Business Licence and pay the applicable Business Licence Fee.  Supplementary Utility Fees will not apply to a rental house with a valid Business Licence. Further details on all aspects of the 2020 program, including the new declaration, will be made available in October.

2019 Program

The submission period for the 2019 supplementary utility fee declaration has now closed. Credits have been applied for home owners charged supplementary utility fees in 2019 who declared that they do not rent, plan to rent, or have rented out a suite in 2019.
For the purpose of the 2019 Supplementary Utility Fees Declaration, “rented” means the receipt of rental income in exchange for use or occupancy of the suite for any period of time in 2019, including renting to family members or relatives. Where applicable, credits applied have been transferred to customer property tax accounts. Please login to your My Property account to check your account balance and latest tax and utility notices.

Please note: The supplementary utility fees credit only applies to 2019. There is no reimbursement for charges in prior years.

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

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