Secondary Suites and Garden Suites

SECONDARY SUITES AND GARDEN SUITES

Secondary Suites and Garden Suites for residential use are now permitted in a most residential zones within the District of Peachland. Suites must be registered to be approved for use. Whether you have an existing suite (one that has a kitchen and an electrical permit issued prior to January 1st, 2017), or you are constructing a new suite in an existing home or in a new construction, the process to register is the same. To register a suite, you need to:

  • Fill out and submit the Suite Registration Application Form and pay the $125 fee
  • Fill out and submit a Building Permit Application and pay the required fees (variable based on project)
  • Pass the departmental reviews
  • Maintain an Annual Suite Licence of $56 payable at time of registration and then renew by the end of each calendar year
  • Pay an additional 40% of base rate for water and/or sewer on the quarterly utility invoice

If an existing suite can meet all of the criteria, a building permit and final inspection is all that is required to register the suite before occupancy can be granted. If an existing suite cannot meet all of the criteria, it will be considered a new construction and will be subject to all the necessary inspections prior to final inspection and occupancy.

The Suites Licencing Program is guided by the Secondary Suite and Garden Suite Policy.

What’s the difference between a Secondary Suite and a Garden Suite?

  • A “Garden Suite” is a secondary dwelling contained within an accessory building other than a mobile home, located in the rear or side yard of a lot containing a principal dwelling and having a gross floor area not exceeding 90 m2 (968 ft2) or 75% of the floor area of the principal building.
  • A “Secondary Suite” is one (1) or more habitable rooms within a single detached dwelling, used as a separate dwelling, with self-contained sleeping, living, cooking, and sanitary facilities, and direct access to the exterior, without passing through any part of the principal single detached dwelling unit.

How do I apply?

  • Fill out the Suite Application Form and apply for a Building Permit, gather the required supporting documents, and submit both to the Building Department at building@peachland.ca. Your submission will have an initial review to ensure it is complete. When it is complete, you will be contacted to pay the application fees. When the fee is paid, your application will be placed in the queue for issuance of a building permit and departmental reviews will begin.
  • Be sure to review the Zoning Bylaw No. 2100, Building Bylaw No. 2273, Secondary and Garden Suite Policy DEV-288, Driveway Access Regulations Bylaw No. 2171 and other Municipal Bylaws that may apply. The Suite Registration Appendix A is a helpful document that summarizes some of the important information you need to be aware of with respect to registering your Secondary Suite or Garden Suite in Peachland.

    How much does it cost to get a suite licence?

    • The application fee to voluntarily register an existing suite will be $125. When legalization occurs through bylaw enforcement action, the registration fee is doubled to $250.
    • There may be additional costs involved in registering an existing suite, depending on whether upgrades or renovations are required to bring the suite in compliance with District bylaws and the building code.
    • The application fee for a new suite is in addition to the building permit fee, which varies based on the cost of construction.
    • Upon approval, an annual Suite Licence costs $56 per year, half the cost of a regular annual business licence. This annual licence fee is payable regardless of whether the suite is occupied or not. Properties with a Secondary Suite or Garden Suite will be also be charged an additional 40% of the base Single Detached Residential water and sewer rate on their quarterly utilities bill.

    What’s an unregistered suite?

    An unregistered suite is a suite that was not built with the proper permits. Prior to the adoption of Zoning Bylaw 2100 in late 2016, secondary and garden suites were not permitted in anywhere in Peachland, except through council approval of a property specific rezoning application. This means that if your existing secondary or garden suite was built in 2016 or earlier, it is probably an unregistered suite. If you own or live in an unregistered suite, there is reason for concern, as the suite was not constructed with the appropriate permits and inspections and may not meet the proper specifications for fire and life safety.

    In many cases, it is possible to register an existing suite. A suite inspection will be necessary to determine whether any upgrades will be needed for the suite to meet bylaw and building code requirements. In some cases, it may not be possible for an existing suite to be upgraded to meet the requirements for registration. In these cases, the suite will need to be decommissioned.

    According to BC Assessment data, there are over 100 existing unregistered suites in Peachland.

    Why is it important to have a registered suite?

    Safety:

    For a suite to be registered, it must meet the fire and life safety requirements set out in the BC Building Code, which are intended to protect the safety of both tenants and landlords. These features include smoke detectors, appropriate access and egress, and fire separations.

    Value:

    A registered suite with a valid suite licence can increase property value and provide assurance to potential buyers that the suite is properly constructed and in compliance with building codes and municipal bylaws.

    Security:

    An unregistered suite could negatively impact your home insurance. The suite could violate the terms of your insurance policy, which could leave you on the hook for the full cost of damages or repairs related to an insurance claim.

    Compliance:

    Registered suites have the appropriate permits and are in compliance with municipal bylaws and building codes. Unregistered suites are not in compliance with municipal bylaws. After the end of the “grace period” in December 2019, owners of unregistered suites may be subject to bylaw enforcement up to and including required decommissioning of the suite.

    Questions?

    Contact Planning, Building, or Operations for more information: