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  • Writer's pictureTim Degroot

A Guide to Secondary Suites in BC

What is a secondary suite?

A secondary suite is a legal unit located within the same building as the primary residence. To qualify as a secondary suite, the unit must not exceed more than 40% of the habitable floor space within the area or exceed 969 ft2. Additionally, secondary suites must be the only other habitable area within the building, besides the primary dwelling. The secondary suite and the primary suite must be considered a single real estate entity, meaning that the two dwellings are owned by the same person and can not be sold separately from each other.



Degroot Custom Homes Secondary Suite


The benefits of secondary suites

There are many benefits of secondary suites that make them a highly desirable option for those looking to renovate their existing home or purchase a home with an existing secondary suite. These living alternatives not only benefit homeowners but also contribute to a healthy rental market. With increasing interest rates and additional costs associated with home purchases, more and more people are opting to rent homes rather than purchase. This trend has amplified the need for affordable housing options, putting considerable pressure on communities to provide suitable residences.


Beyond addressing the housing challenge, secondary suites offer homeowners a multitude of benefits, including the potential for passive income. Homeowners can offset costs by utilizing the rent from secondary suites to cover mortgage payments. This has proven to be an effective financial solution amid unpredictable economic challenges.


In addition to the financial benefits, secondary suites also provide homeowners with the flexibility to accommodate their teenage children or elderly family members. Finding suitable housing for these demographic groups often involves substantial financial commitments and lacks the benefits of proximity.


Qualifying for a secondary suite

Navigating the regulations and requirements to qualify for a secondary suite is a crucial step. Whether you’re contemplating creating a secondary suite for rental income, accommodating family members or maximizing your home's value, understanding the criteria and process for qualification is paramount. Some things you will need to consider include researching the type of rental suites allowed in your community, confirming planning requirements and ensuring you meet building code requirements.


The Government of British Columbia has created a step-by-step guide on building a secondary suite that will help you along the way. You can view the step-by-step guide here.



Secondary Suite Incentive Program

Starting in April 2024, the Government of British Columbia, through BC Housing, is set to launch the Secondary Suite Incentive Program (SSIP), marking the onset of a transformative 3-year pilot initiative. This program aims to provide conditional financial support to homeowners in assisting them in constructing affordable rental units within their community. Eligible participants will receive financial assistance covering up to 50% of the renovation costs, with a cap of $40,000. If homeowners adhere to the terms and conditions of the program, they are exempt from repaying the loan. One of the conditions includes renting out the secondary suite below the average market rate.


To explore your eligibility for this loan, visit the BC Housing website.


DeGroot specializes in secondary suites in BC

As a trusted and reputable Okanagan home builder, DeGroot Custom Homes stands as the preferred partner for homeowners navigating the intricate process of construction, renovation and compliance. With a wealth of experience, DeGroot specializes in transforming spaces into legal, functional and aesthetically pleasing secondary suites.


Trust DeGroot to bring your vision to life while offering the knowledge and experience needed to complete a secondary suite renovation.



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