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 firstname.lastname@example.org
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
Step 1: Confirm if secondary suites are allowed in your area
Step 2: Determine if you need a secondary suite inspection
Step 3: Prepare plans, submit your permit application, and pay fees
Step 4: Begin construction, get trade permits, and book inspections
Step 5: Complete construction and determine if you need a business licence
Review our how to guide PDF file (213 KB)
Review our frequently asked questions PDF file (112 KB)
Removing your secondary suite?
If you no longer want a secondary suite in your home, you will need to apply for the appropriate permit(s) before you:
- Remove the kitchen/cooking facilities (for example, the range, etc)
- Resolve any other work that was previously completed without a permit
Contact the Services Centre for further information about the permit application process.
Note Access to the Services Centre is by appointment only. Walk-in service and drop-in appointments are not available.
Location and mailing address
Development and Building Services Centre
515 West 10th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5Z 4A8
- Broadway-City Hall SkyTrain Station
- 99 B-line, #15, and #9 buses
Permits, inspections, and forms
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.
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.