What Are The Requirements For A Legal Or Authorized Suite In Nanaimo?

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History of Homes with Suite in Nanaimo

Prior to Feb 2005, suites were not legally allowed in the city of Nanaimo. The city Bylaw was amended to allow them and anything built with a permit is a legal suite. The city was aware of many of the suites legal and otherwise and even charged additional user fees for them. Many suites in Nanaimo were not safe for the occupants mostly due to issues if their was a fire. They did not have fire rated doors, inter-connected smoke alarms, proper escape routes and many other issues.

What is a secondairy Suite?

Secondary suites are defined as: “One or more habitable rooms, but not more than two bedrooms and one cooking facility, constituting a self-contained unit with a separate entrance, but which is clearly subordinate to the principal dwelling, for the residential accommodation of: one or more individuals who are related through marriage or common law, blood relationship, legal adoption, or legal guardianship; or a group of not more than two unrelated persons.”

A secondary suite is not permitted in multi-family dwellings, mobile homes, or commercial/industrial buildings, and is limited to an accessory use to a single residential dwelling where no other uses are sited on the lot . When located within the principal dwelling, the size of the suite is limited to 40% of the habitable floor space, to a maximum of 90 m 2 . The suite can have a maximum of two bedrooms .

Authorized Suites with a Notice on Title

Any suite existing prior to 2005 and upgraded through a Building Permit to address life-safety issues(a notice will be placed on the property Title to advise interested parties that the suite was not fully constructed under a Building Permit. The suite must exist in a home that allows for it in Zonong.

What is needed to make a suite Authorized?

These are some of the main things that will be looked at

Secondary Suite in Accessory Building

On AUG11, 2008 City Council adopted “Zoning Bylaw Amendment Bylaw 2008 No. 4000.438”, which permits secondary suites within accessory buildings (Known as carriage house).

A Secondary suite is allowed within an accessory building provided that:

1. No secondary suite exists within the principal dwelling; and

2. A minimum of 30 m2 of private outdoor space is provided; and

3. The lot is a. A corner lot; or b. Accessed by a laneway; OR c. Is greater than an 800 m2 in lot area.

The total size of all accessory buildings on the lot shall not exceed 13% of the lot area to a maximum of 90 m2 .

Secondary suites are not permitted on lots less than 370 m2 in area. An additional 42 m2 of floor area may be used for parking where no garage or carport exists within the principal dwelling. If the accessory building has a roof pitch of 6:12 or greater and a suite exists in the roof structure, the accessory building can be up to 7 m in height.

There may be variations to these requirements subject to what zone the residence is in.

Things that will Happen after suite is added

A seconday address will be added to the home for direct mail delivery.

Double user rates will apply to sewer and Garbage.

Note this is a Blog Posting, you should consult with the city before doing anything with regards to a building or modifying a secondairy suite.


Want to buy a home with a suite? Give me a call 250-619-6012 or send an email of what you are looking for. doug@dougbelcher.com

Doug Belcher REMAX Nanaimo

Have a questions? Need to Buy or Sell a home? Give me a call.

I post both my cell and office number so my clients can reach me anytime. I am always happy to discuss your Nanaimo real estate needs.

Office 250-751-1223

Cell 250-619-6012

Fax 250-751-1300

Office 1-5140 Metral Dr. Nanaimo