Six Common Questions About Secondary Suites In Nanaimo
In previous posts I've covered legal and authorized suites, so let's wrap up this 'suite' discussion by answering some frequently asked questions about Secondary Suites.
What is a 'secondary suite'?
A secondary suite is a self-contained unit within your home or within an outbuilding that is clearly part of your home. It can't have more than two bedrooms and one cooking area and it is intended as a residential accommodation for relatives or not more than two guests who aren't related to you.
Where are secondary suites allowed?
You can have a secondary suite in most residentially zoned area except those zoned Single Dwelling Residential - Small lot zoned (R2).
How large can a secondary suite be?
If your secondary suite is located within your main residence, it can't be larger than 90 square meters and it can't exceed 40% of the habitable floor space of your main dwelling. If you secondary suite is in an out building or an accessory building the total floor area of all the accessory building on your lot, including your secondary suite, can't be more than 13% of your lot size, up to a maximum of 90 square meters.
Can I have more than one secondary suite?
You can only have one secondary suite per single family dwelling. If you have a secondary suite in your main residence then you can't have one in an accessory building. The exception to this is that if your property is in a Single Dwelling Residential (R1) or any Agricultural Rural Residential Zone, and if you have two single family dwellings, then both dwelling units can have a secondary suite.
Do I need to provide extra parking?
If you've got a secondary suite in your house or property than you'll need to have a total of three parking spaces - one for your secondary suite and two for your main residence.
Oops! I've got an 'illegal' secondary suite - how do I make it legal?
"Secondary suites which were constructed prior to the adoption of the Secondary
Suite Bylaw (2005-FEB-07) are permitted to remain, provided they do not exceed
the maximum permitted size or the number of permitted bedrooms and they
meet basic life safety requirements. While the suites are permitted to remain,
a notice is placed on the title in order to identify that the suite was built without a
building permit and therefore does not meet the Building Code. Suites constructed after 2005-
FEB-07 are required to obtain a building permit and must meet all Building Code requirements."
If you've found our discussion of legal suites, authorized suites and secondary suites just a little confusing, you're not alone!
Feel free to give me a call with questions and always be sure to check with the City of Nanaimo for specific questions about your secondary suite.