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

Create or legalize a secondary suite

COVID-19 update: Development, Building, and Licensing 

September 3, 2021: Services Centre access is by appointment only. Walk-in service and drop-in appointments are not available. 

To help process your applications more quickly, we have moved to a digital approach for all applications, enquiries, and payments. 

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 online form and receive a tracking number, which you can use to get real-time status updates from 3-1-1.
    • 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 secondarysuite.office@vancouver.ca

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

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.

PERMITS ISSUED IN 2021
for suites in newly constructed homes
PERMITS ISSUED IN 2021
for suites added to existing homes
PERMITS ISSUED IN 2020
for suites in newly constructed homes
PERMITS ISSUED IN 2020
for suites added to existing homes

Contact the Development and Building Services Centre

Contact us online

Phone: 604-873-7611

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

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.

Inspections

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