Inside an apartment suite with a kitchen, dining room, and living room

Create or legalize a secondary suite

COVID-19 update

June 1, 2021: The Services Centre is open for scheduled appointments and payments only. All other enquires are available online, by phone, or email.

We continue to process and review applications to help ensure buildings and development can continue to operate, generate employment, and meet urgent housing needs. Inspections continue daily with enhanced safety precautions.

Wearing a mask is required if you need to visit City, Park Board, and library facilities.

  • General enquiries: Phone 604-873-7611
  • Building, development, and application enquiries:
    • Use our new online form and receive a tracking number, which you can use to get real-time status updates from 3-1-1.
    • Email Submissions received through email will take longer to process and will not receive a tracking number. Please do not send multiple emails. 
    • We will respond to all enquiries within 10 business days.

You may still need to submit physical drawings and plans for your project through our online form or email.

What is a secondary suite?

A secondary suite is an approved dwelling unit (with its own kitchen and living area as well as separate external access) within a larger one-family or two-family dwelling.

Secondary suites may share internal access with the main dwelling unit.

Add a new secondary suite to your home or legalize a secondary suite that was created without permits.

What you need to know:

  • A secondary suite cannot be strata titled
  • A third suite is not allowed under the Zoning and Development By-law
  • A duplex may have two suites; however, only one suite is allowed per primary dwelling unit
  • Secondary suites in duplexes or two-family homes are not approved in all zones
  • Secondary suites not approved through our permitting process are not legal dwelling units and not eligible for short- or long-term licences
  • A secondary suite must comply with all City by-laws prior to legalization (These items are usually addressed during the permit application phase.)
  • Questions about legalizing your secondary suite can be emailed to

Are you creating a secondary suite as part of building a new house?  Review the steps to building a new house

Steps to creating or legalizing a secondary suite

for suites in newly constructed homes
for suites added to existing homes
for suites in newly constructed homes
for suites added to existing homes

Contact the Development and Building Services Centre

Contact us online

Phone: 604-873-7611


Location and mailing address
Development and Building Services Centre
515 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4A8

Transit nearby

  • Broadway-City Hall SkyTrain Station
  • 99 B-line, #15, and #9 buses

Permits, inspections, and forms

Apply for and manage permit

Review regulations and apply for the required permits for your construction or renovation project.


Book or cancel an electrical, plumbing, building, fire sprinkler, gas, or sidewalk inspection for your construction or renovation project.

Forms, checklists, and bulletins

View and download the building or development permit application forms and submission requirements.

Have you submitted an application online?

We want to hear from you.

Complete survey