Secondary Suite Zoning Requirements

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Since 2012, secondary suites have been permitted in all but a few single detached residential zones, as long as they meet certain conditions. We regularly review these conditions to make sure they are working for the community.

There are three secondary suite requirements currently under review:

1. Removing the secondary suite requirement that all required parking spaces be free and clear of each other.

Homes with secondary suites must have two parking spaces for the occupants of the home and one parking space for the secondary suite tenant. Currently, all three parking spaces must have their own designated spot and tandem parking (a car parked right in front of another) is not allowed. All required parking must be on-site (street parking does not count), so a property with a suite needs to fit three parking spaces either side-by-side or far enough apart so that the parking spaces are easily accessible.

This requirement has resulted in wider driveways, complicated parking configurations (see image gallery on the right) and has made it difficult to meet other zoning regulations about permeability and front yard landscaping. In some cases, this requirement prevents owners from being able to have a legal secondary suite.

Should the City remove this current parking requirement, more properties would be eligible for secondary suites, more owners would be able to meet their landscaping requirements, and less yard area would be devoted to parking. Owners and tenants would need to agree among themselves on how to access their parking spaces without inconveniencing others. It is possible that street parking spaces would be used more often.

2. Removing the minimum lot width of 15 m (49 ft) to be eligible for a secondary suite.

Delta requires a minimum lot width of 15 m (49 ft) in order to be eligible for a secondary suite. Most newly subdivided lots and some irregularly shaped lots have lot widths narrower than that and are not able to have a secondary suite.

Over the years, suite parking requirements have changed and the rationale behind the specific
15 m (49 ft) minimum lot width is no longer relevant. As such, the 15 m (49 ft) minimum lot width requirement is being considered for removal.

If this requirement was removed, the City would allow suites on any properly zoned lot that could fit three required parking spaces on the property.

3. Discharging restrictive covenants that prohibit secondary suites on a property (should the zoning regulations change).

Many previously developed properties have a restrictive covenant registered on title that prohibits secondary suites. This type of restrictive covenant typically includes restrictions that mirror secondary suite zoning regulations and does not add any additional restrictions; however, it increases administrative work for City staff and adds cost and delay to applicants.

If Delta were to change the zoning regulations about parking configuration and lot width, we would also consider removing the related registered covenants and allow these properties to have secondary suites.


Adopting the above changes would make it easier for some owners to construct or legalize a secondary suite within their home, while still requiring enough on-site parking. Alternatively, the requirements could remain as they stand today.

Since 2012, secondary suites have been permitted in all but a few single detached residential zones, as long as they meet certain conditions. We regularly review these conditions to make sure they are working for the community.

There are three secondary suite requirements currently under review:

1. Removing the secondary suite requirement that all required parking spaces be free and clear of each other.

Homes with secondary suites must have two parking spaces for the occupants of the home and one parking space for the secondary suite tenant. Currently, all three parking spaces must have their own designated spot and tandem parking (a car parked right in front of another) is not allowed. All required parking must be on-site (street parking does not count), so a property with a suite needs to fit three parking spaces either side-by-side or far enough apart so that the parking spaces are easily accessible.

This requirement has resulted in wider driveways, complicated parking configurations (see image gallery on the right) and has made it difficult to meet other zoning regulations about permeability and front yard landscaping. In some cases, this requirement prevents owners from being able to have a legal secondary suite.

Should the City remove this current parking requirement, more properties would be eligible for secondary suites, more owners would be able to meet their landscaping requirements, and less yard area would be devoted to parking. Owners and tenants would need to agree among themselves on how to access their parking spaces without inconveniencing others. It is possible that street parking spaces would be used more often.

2. Removing the minimum lot width of 15 m (49 ft) to be eligible for a secondary suite.

Delta requires a minimum lot width of 15 m (49 ft) in order to be eligible for a secondary suite. Most newly subdivided lots and some irregularly shaped lots have lot widths narrower than that and are not able to have a secondary suite.

Over the years, suite parking requirements have changed and the rationale behind the specific
15 m (49 ft) minimum lot width is no longer relevant. As such, the 15 m (49 ft) minimum lot width requirement is being considered for removal.

If this requirement was removed, the City would allow suites on any properly zoned lot that could fit three required parking spaces on the property.

3. Discharging restrictive covenants that prohibit secondary suites on a property (should the zoning regulations change).

Many previously developed properties have a restrictive covenant registered on title that prohibits secondary suites. This type of restrictive covenant typically includes restrictions that mirror secondary suite zoning regulations and does not add any additional restrictions; however, it increases administrative work for City staff and adds cost and delay to applicants.

If Delta were to change the zoning regulations about parking configuration and lot width, we would also consider removing the related registered covenants and allow these properties to have secondary suites.


Adopting the above changes would make it easier for some owners to construct or legalize a secondary suite within their home, while still requiring enough on-site parking. Alternatively, the requirements could remain as they stand today.

  • Zoning Bylaw Amendments Adopted - January 18, 2021

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    At the January 18, 2021 Meeting Following Public Hearing, Council gave third reading and final adoption to Bylaw No. 7953 which amended “Delta Zoning Bylaw No. 7600, 2017” by allowing secondary suites on properties which are less than 15 m (49 ft) wide; and properties that can fit three on-site parking spaces regardless of parking configuration.


    This means that some residential properties in Delta which are less than 15 m (49 ft) wide or which were unable to meet the previous parking configuration requirement may now be eligible for a secondary suite provided all other regulations for secondary suites are met including all applicable BC Building Code and Delta Zoning Bylaw regulations. There are properties that will continue to be ineligible for a variety of reasons including: permitted uses under zoning or land use contract, providing the minimum number of on-site parking spaces, satisfying building code requirements, etc.


    All proposals to construct a secondary suite will require a building permit application to the Community Planning & Development Department. Some will also require an application to discharge or amend a restrictive covenant on title which prohibits secondary suites. Approval of these applications is not guaranteed and will be reviewed on a case-by-case basis, dependent on the owner demonstrating zoning and building code compliance as well as consideration of the property development history.


    See below building permit application requirements:


    If you have any questions about submitting a building permit application please contact the Application Centre at 604-946-3380 or cpd@delta.ca.

  • Referral to Public Hearing - January 18, 2021

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    At the November 23, 2020 Regular Meeting, Council referred the proposed zoning bylaw amendments to a Public Hearing. Notice of the Public Hearing will be advertised in the newspaper in accordance with the Local Government Act as well as a notice mailed to every residence and business in Delta and advertising placed on Delta's website, social media platforms and "Let's Talk Delta".

    The Public Hearing will be held on January 18, 2021 at 4:00 pm. Due to COVID-19, the Public Hearing will be convened by electronic means, therefore comments must be provided in writing in advance or at the hearing by telephone or videoconference.

    Any persons who believe that their interest will be affected by the proposed zoning amendments will be given an opportunity to provide their comments. View the Public Hearing Notice for information on how to participate in the Public Hearing process.

  • Council Consideration of 1st and 2nd Readings - November 23, 2020

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    Council granted first and second readings to the proposed zoning bylaw amendments at the November 23, 2020 Regular Meeting. See the Council Report for more information.

  • Public Engagement Results presented on November 9, 2020

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    At the November 9, 2020 Regular Meeting, Council received a staff report on the public feedback on the proposed changes to secondary suite requirements. Council resolved that:

    1. THAT the public engagement summary on the proposed changes to the secondary suite requirements be received for information.
    2. THAT staff be directed to bring forward a report and zoning amendment bylaw recommending the following changes to the secondary suite requirements:
      1. Amend "Delta Zoning Bylaw No. 7600, 2017" by eliminating the requirement for a minimum lot width of 15 m;
      2. Amend "Delta Zoning Bylaw No. 7600, 2017" by allowing secondary suites on properties that can fit three on-site parking spaces regardless of parking configuration; and
      3. Authorize the discharge of restrictive covenants that prohibit secondary suites on properties where no variances would be required.


    Staff will be bringing forward a report with recommendations to proceed with a zoning bylaw amendment to change the secondary suite zoning requirements. The zoning amendment bylaw would be subject to a Public Hearing and Council approval.

  • Engagement Session Closed on October 9, 2020

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    The public engagement on the secondary suite zoning requirements closed on October 9, 2020. Staff are reviewing the responses received and will be reporting back to Council. Please note that making changes to Delta's zoning requirements would involve consideration of a zoning amendment bylaw and referral to Public Hearing. Any questions can be directed to Rachael Ward, Planner at 604-952-3153 or rward@delta.ca.