Canada Landlords Association

Thinking of Becoming a Landlord? Secondary Suites May Be The Answer

May 1st, 2013

BC landlord secondary suite

Living on the North Shore may be desirable, but it is incredibly expensive. For this very reason, many people are looking into becoming a landlord by incorporating a secondary suite into their home in order to cover a little bit of mortgage, while also providing a small bit of profit.

Being a landlord can be challenging and there are potential challenges ahead, the rules and laws in British Columbia are very fair for landlords compared to other provinces such as Ontario, as this Barrie, Ontario landlord story shows.

The definition of a secondary suite in a building is a dwelling which is completely separate from the main dwelling. For example, this could mean a basement suite, which is perhaps the most popular on the North Shore.

If you are planning to incorporate a secondary suite into your home then it is important that you follow a few rules and regulations to ensure that you are not only acting legally, but also to ensure that you will not be putting anybodys life in danger. Follow these rules, and you should be fairly fine, and may be able to even turn a profit if you have a bit of space to rent out.

1.     It doesn’t matter how much space you have in your property, the law currently states that you can only have one secondary suite in a single-family building. You are also unable to divide this and sell it out. You can only rent it.

2.     The owner of the property must live in the property. They are either allowed to occupy the primary dwelling or the secondary suite.

3.     The secondary suite cannot cover an area more than 40 per cent of the entire area of the property. However, it can only be a maximum of 969 square feet.

4.     The secondary suite must have its own exit to the exterior of the property. You cannot exit through the primary dwelling.

5.     There must be an off-street space to park a car for those that will be residing in the secondary suite.

6.     All of the floors and walls within the suites and any corridors need to be fire rated to ensure they are not a hazard to the residents in the event of a fire.

7.     There must be an electrical sub-panel especially for the use of those that live within the secondary suite.

8.    The minimum height of the ceiling has to be six feet and eight inches. This needs to be everywhere within the secondary unit.

9.     Both the primary and the secondary suite should have their own separate heating and ventilation system.

If you want to get the most value out of your property then it does make sense financially to add a secondary suite to the building, even if you do have to carry out a couple of modifications. You may want to get in touch with the local building inspectors to check if you are doing it right, after all, this will help avoid fines and any other penalties in the future.

To discuss this and other landlord issues and opportunities for people in British Columbia go to the free BC Landlord Forum , the #1 landlord forum in BC.


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