Build and legalize your basement or secondary suite

Building more rental suites is an excellent way to reduce our carbon footprint, and expand affordable housing choices.

To accommodate this, the City now permits suites in every detached single-family home in Vancouver within the RS, RM, and RT zones.

Council has also relaxed a number of building codes to make creating rental suites easier. For instance, they have:

  • Reduced ceiling height requirements
  • Relaxed sprinkler system requirements
  • Permitted full basements, to accommodate more functional, liveable basement suites

Learn about the permit, inspection, and approval process

If you would like to add a new secondary suite to your house – or keep an existing suite that was created without permits – start by reviewing the Secondary Suite Guide.

The guide explains the steps to create or legalize your suite, what the requirements are, and the fees you can expect to pay.

Learn what you need to install or approve a suite with a special inspection

To add a rental suite to your home or get an unpermitted suite approved for use, apply for a special inspection.

A City inspector will come to your home, examine your space, and explain the upgrades or changes you will need to make in order to create your legal, conforming suite.

Apply for a special inspection

A Special Inspection may not be applicable in some cases. For example, if there are on-going by-law enforcement issues related to work without permits such as the enclosure of a deck or a carport without permits, or an addition to your building carried out without permits, etc., you may wish to speak to City staff prior to making an application.


  1. Register for an online account and submit your application.


  1. Download the application form  (70 KB)
  2. Bring the form and special inspection fee in person to the Development and Building Services Centre (see contact on this page). You can pay the fee by credit card, debit card, cheque, and cash. Make cheques payable to City of Vancouver.

Special inspection fee

$193.20 (includes GST, effective January 1, 2018)

Contact the Development and Building Services Centre about building and zoning


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

Monday, Wednesday, Friday
8:30am to 4:30pm

Tuesday, Thursday
8:30am to 4:00pm

Free 2-hour parking
West 10th Ave parking lot,
between Cambie and Yukon

Not sure if your property is zoned for a secondary suite?

Use this easy online search tool to find out what zone your property is in.

To build a secondary or basement suite, your zoning must be either RS, RM, or RT.

Find your zone

Don't forget your business license!

To legally run a basement or secondary suite in Vancouver, you need to have a rental property business license.

Get a business license