Burnaby approves Laneway Homes and Secondary Suites in Semi-Detached Homes

Last updated: January 15, 2024

On September 18, the City of Burnaby will begin accepting applications for laneway homes and secondary suites in semi-detached homes. These new-to-Burnaby housing types will expand the options available to homeowners and renters alike, without fundamentally changing the character of the city’s residential neighbourhoods. Both laneway homes and suites in semi-detached homes cannot be stratified or sold separately from the main dwelling, and City staff expect many to be built as intergenerational housing, providing parents or children their own home on a family-owned lot.

“This is a significant step forward for our efforts to add housing to Burnaby, while also preserving the local character that the people living in our single-family neighbourhoods love about where they live.”, said Burnaby mayor Mike Hurley. 

Information on how to apply will be available on the City’s website on Monday, September 18. 

These new forms of housing were approved as the first phase of Burnaby’s Housing Choices program, a City initiative which seeks to introduce new and flexible forms of housing to residential neighbourhoods. Burnaby’s regulations and guidelines for these housing types were refined over a year-long period of public engagement, beginning in spring 2022. During this process, City staff consulted extensively with the people affected by the proposed changes, including residents living in single/two-family home neighbourhoods, housing advocacy groups, prospective builders, and transportation organizations. To find out what these stakeholders wanted to see in Burnaby’s regulations and guidelines for laneway homes (including requirements for parking and green space, home size, and lot eligibility), City of Burnaby staff conducted public surveys, hosted open houses, and convened resident workshops. Today’s bylaw amendments reflect the feedback collected during that process, and are designed to strike a balance between the existing character of single and two-family neighbourhoods and the need for additional housing. 

About Laneway Homes

Laneway homes are smaller homes built in the backyard of a main house that faces the lane or road that runs behind the property. Laneway homes can provide additional space for families, or serve as a new source of rental housing—while also providing income for the homeowner. 

About Suites in Semi-Detached Homes

Semi-detached homes are residences with two units built side-by-side. Under Burnaby’s new bylaw updates, a semi-detached home may have two secondary suites, one in each unit. The BC Building Code does not permit secondary suites in stacked duplexes. To encourage greater accessibility, semi-detached homes with suites that incorporate SAFERhomes Society universal design standards will receive a height bonus, with maximum building heights up to 10.5m (34.4 ft.) depending on roof style

Learn more: 

Zoning Bylaw Amendment

Was this page useful?