For homeowners considering building an additional living space on their property, legal suites are becoming increasingly popular as a viable option. While the idea of having a separate living space on the same property may seem like a complicated undertaking, there are a number of benefits that come with building a legal suite. However, it’s important to understand the requirements and regulations that apply to these types of living spaces. In this blog, we will cover the frequently asked questions about legal suites; from what they are, the advantages of building one, to various legal requirements that homeowners must adhere to when building them.

Q: Can a house with a rental suite help me qualify for a mortgage?

A: When it comes to buying a home, affordability is a top concern for most buyers. Having a legal suite in a home can quickly become a valuable asset for those looking to purchase a property. The additional income generated by a legal suite not only makes it easier for buyers to get approved, but it also allows them to afford more home. Of course, whether the suite is legal or not can impact the approval process. That said, it’s always essential to consider such factors before making any decisions. All in all, a legal suite can be a game changer for buyers, helping them to make their homeownership dreams a reality.

Q: How large can a legal suite be?

A: According to the British Columbia Building Code, a secondary suite is a legal living space that is separate from the primary residence and can be rented out to tenants. These suites cannot exceed 90 square metres or 40% of the habitable floor space, whichever is the lowest. With the rising demand for affordable housing in British Columbia, the creation of legal suites is becoming increasingly popular. Not only can it provide a potentially lucrative investment opportunity, but it can also help alleviate the shortage of rental properties in the Okanagan. By following the proper code regulations, you can ensure that your secondary suite is a safe and legal living space for both you and your tenants.

Q: What’s the building code for legal suites?

A: In order to have a legal secondary suite, it is important to follow the necessary requirements put forth by the provincial government. It is important to note that only one suite can be added onto a home that is also occupied by the owner. This means that only two separate living spaces are allowed. Another requirement is the presence of an independent entrance that securely connects both living spaces inside the home. By adhering to these guidelines, you can ensure that your legal suite is approved and up to standard.
couple qualifying for a mortgage
When it comes to legal suites, there are certain requirements that must be met for both safety and legality. A kitchen sink, bathtub or shower, lavatory, and water closet are necessary fixtures in any legal suite. Additionally, smoke and carbon monoxide alarms must be present in living spaces on every level of the suite and near bedrooms. Proper ventilation is also crucial for ensuring safety in the event of an emergency. It’s important to note that even if a suite is deemed illegal, the B.C. Residential Tenancy Act still applies if a tenant has signed a tenancy agreement with the landlord. Being aware of these requirements and regulations can help both tenants and landlords stay safe and avoid legal issues.
In summary:
  • Secondary suites must adhere to provincial government requirements, including allowing only one suite in a house occupied by an owner and having an independent entrance that connects both living spaces securely.
  • Legal suites need to include kitchen sink, bathtub or shower, lavatory, and water closet fixtures.
  • Smoke & carbon monoxide alarms should be present in all living spaces and near bedrooms.
  • Proper ventilation must be maintained for safety purposes.
  • Even if a suite is illegal, the B.C. Residential Tenancy Act still applies if a tenant has signed a tenancy agreement with the landlord.
Also don’t forget to check local municipal bylaws. Call PATRICK A. BELL – Lawyer at Bell, Jacoe & Company in Summerland BC provides legal help with real estate and wills and estate law.
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