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. To register a suite, the property owner must apply for an annual Suite Licence and the suite must pass a building inspection. 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?

  • To register an existing suite, fill out the Suite Licence Application Form, gather the required supporting documents, and submit to Municipal Hall at 5806 Beach Avenue. Applicants are required to pay a $100 application fee. Once received, staff will review your application for completeness and compliance with District Bylaws, and then contact you to schedule a suite inspection.
  • To build a new secondary suite in an existing dwelling, a new secondary suite in a new dwelling, or a new garden suite, apply for a building permit and complete the Suite Licence Application.

Be sure to review the Secondary Suites and Garden Suites Information Bulletins below before you apply to learn more about the requirements for a registered Secondary Suite or Garden Suite in Peachland.

How much does it cost to get a suite licence?

  • Until December 31, 2019, the application fee to register an existing suite will be $100. Beyond this date, the application fee may increase.
  • 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 to for a new suite is included in 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.

Council has established a “grace period” until the end of 2019 to allow owners of unregistered suites that existed prior to the adoption of Zoning Bylaw 2100 to apply to register their existing suites and obtain a suite licence. Following the end of the “grace period” on December 31, 2019, the application fee to register a suite may increase and unregistered suites may be the subject of bylaw enforcement up to and including requiring decommissioning.

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 and Development Services for more information: