Legalized Suites In Nanaimo

Real Estate Agent with Royal Lepage Nanaimo Realty

Legalized Suites In Nanaimo

Last time we discussed just what an Authorized Suite is, and today I wanted to discuss "Legalized Suites".

In order for a secondary suite to be considered 'legalized' all suites constructed after February 7, 2005 must comply with the Zoning Bylaw and the BC Building Code in order to be legal.  

Secondary suites are defined as:

“One or more habitable rooms, but not more than two bedrooms and one cooking facility, constituting a self-contained unit with a separate entrance, but which is clearly subordinate to the principal dwelling, for the residential accommodation of: one or more individuals who are related through marriage or common law, blood relationship, legal adoption, or legal guardianship; or a group of not more than two unrelated persons.”

Legalized SuitesThe checklist for legalized secondary suites within a principal dwelling includes:

*   Hinged exit door (minimum 32”) with door viewer or clear glass

*   Required minimum bedroom window opening size (minimum 15” width/height, minimum 3.75 square feet in area)

*   Two bedrooms maximum

*   Independent heating system / no shared ducting between both dwelling units

*   A furnace or HVAC that services the main dwelling must not be located in the suite

*   Kitchen and bathroom fans are to exhaust to the outdoors

*   Principal exhaust fan with timer set to operate a minimum of two cycles per day for a minimum of eight hours with a sound rating not exceeding 1.5 sones and to have a separate manual switch, unless the suite is provided with an air change capability through its own ventilation system [i.e. heat recovery ventilator (HRV)]

*   Interconnected ionization smoke alarms are required in the suite bedrooms as well as one to be located within 5 meters of the bedroom doors. These ionization alarms are not to be interconnected to the alarms in the main dwelling

*  To reduce the required 45-minute fire separation between the secondary suite and main dwelling to 30 minutes, a solid wired interconnected photo-electric smoke alarm shall be installed in each suite

*  Shut-offs shall be installed where the water supply enters each dwelling unit, so that when one suite is shut off, the water to the remainder of the building is not interrupted

*  The maximum floor area for the suite measured from the inside of the exterior walls can be 40% of the dwelling up to 90 square metres (968 square feet)

*  The doors and frames between the suite and the main dwelling are required to have a 20 minute fire rating and be self-closing

*   Hardwired carbon monoxide alarm(s) within 5 m of all bedroom doors, where there is a fuel burning appliance or an attached garage in the building (interconnected throughout the building

If you're considering a secondary suite for your property be sure to play by the rules and always check with the City.


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