Secondary Suites & Coach Houses
On February 20, 2017, Council adopted Zoning Amendment Bylaw No. 8529 to allow both a secondary suite and a coach house on lots zoned for single family development. Secondary suites and coach houses provide much needed ground-oriented rental housing in the City, often in neighbourhoods that are close to schools, parks, and other community amenities. Secondary suites and coach houses also allow homeowners to better meet the needs of extended family by accommodating them on-site, in addition to being mortgage helpers should homeowners decide to rent the accessory units.
Q: What is the process to add a coach house to my property?
A: A property can have both a secondary suite and a coach house if the following requirements are met:
- Property is zoned for One-Unit Residential (RS) Use
- There is unused Gross Floor Area available on the lot which can be allocated to the coach house
- Lot is at least 362.3 square metre (3,900 square feet)
- Lot is at least 10.1 metre (33 feet) wide
- The Coach House is designed in accordance with the Zoning Bylaw and Accessory Coach House Development Permit Guidelines
- Owner resides on the property
- Two parking spaces available on the property
Q: What is the maximum Gross Floor Area for single family properties?
A: As per the Zoning Bylaw, the maximum Gross Floor Area for One-Unit Residential (RS) Use is the lesser of 0.3 times the lot area plus 1,000 square feet or 0.5 times the lot area.
The City legalized secondary suites in all single family dwellings in 1993 to increase rental options in lower density neighbourhoods. Secondary suites are self-contained units that are part of a principal dwelling. By taking a moment to review the proper procedures associated with secondary suites, you will pre-empt any safety concerns or legal issues.
Q: How do I add a secondary suite to my principal dwelling?
A: To add a secondary suite, a Building Permit is required. The installation of a secondary suite is subject to both the Zoning Bylaw and the British Columbia Building Code (BCBC). For more information about the Building Permit process, please review the Secondary Suites Handout below or contact the Building Division at email@example.com or 604-990-4220.
Q: If I add a secondary suite and/or coach house, how will the unit be addressed?
A: To ensure clarity for first responders, each property in the City is provided one street address. Accessory units, such as secondary suites and coach houses, will be assigned a unit number as part of the Building Permit approval process.
Q: What servicing upgrades are required to have a secondary suite and/or coach house?
A: Servicing and off-site improvements will be determined through the Subdivision and Development Control Bylaw. Sanitary, storm, and water connection servicing requirements will be evaluated according to the ability to serve the entire site. Undergrounding of hydro and communication service lines in preferred. Additional works may be required to conform to the Subdivision and Development Control Bylaw depending on site conditions.
Q: Will adding a secondary suite and/or coach house have property tax implications?
A: Yes, adding a secondary suite and/or coach house will increase the assessed value of your property, as would any improvement (e.g. addition or renovation) to your home. This increased value may be reflected in increased property taxes and may impact your eligibility for the Homeowner Grant. As of 2016, homeowners with a coach house may qualify for partitioning, which allows the value of the property to be divided by the number of residences. For more information, please visit the Government of British Columbia website.
Q: Does the City collect additional fees for a secondary suite and/or coach house?
A: Yes, to ensure the impacts of additional dwelling units are accounted for, the City charges multi-unit dwellings (including single family properties with a secondary suite and/or coach house) fees for water, sanitary, storm, recycling, refuse, and organics collection. In 2017, the multi-unit fee is $554.80 per unit. This fee is collected in addition to the fee for single unit dwellings, which is $1,154.95 in 2017.
Coach houses provide a unique detached housing option for residents of the City and were approved in 2010 following an extended process with Council and the public. A Development Permit is required for coach house developments to secure the form and character of the coach house, ensuring it is respectful in massing and character with surrounding buildings.
Q: What is the process to add a coach house to my property?
A: A Development Permit is required for a coach house, in addition to compliance with the Accessory Coach House Development Permit Guidelines. For more information about the coach house application process, please contact the Planning Division at firstname.lastname@example.org or 604-990-4220.
Application Submission Requirements:
- Development Permit and Building Permit Application Submission Checklist
- Coach House Development Permit Application Form
- Building Permit Application Form
- House Performance Report (Pre-Construction)
- Design Verification Report
- Application Checklist for Demolition
- Temporary Street Closure Street Use Application
- Temporary Building Zone Street Use Application
- Demolition Waste Recycling Checklist
A: To facilitate the efficient processing of coach house applications, the City has developed a process whereby coach houses are reviewed concurrently for Development Permit and Building Permit approval.
Q: Do I need to apply for both a Development Permit and Building Permit to build a coach house?
Q: What happens if my coach house does not comply with the Accessory Coach House Development Permit Guidelines or the Zoning Bylaw?
A: Coach house applications that are inconsistent with the Accessory Coach House Guidelines or the Zoning Bylaw must be forwarded to Council for consideration. In this instance, additional Development Application fees are applicable.
Integrate and refer to the requirements described in the following documents when preparing the coach house submission:
- Service Information Survey Requirements
- Stormwater Management for Renovation, Coach Houses, 1 Unit and 2 Unit Residential Developments
- Acknowledgement of Responsibility
- Sediment Control Requirements on Renovations, Coach Houses, Single & Two-Family Properties
- HPO Bulletin for Owner Builders
- Small Development Good Neighbour Program Template
- BC Building and Safety Standards Branch - 9.32 Ventilation - September 2014
- Construction Site Sign Example
Tel: 604 982 3942