What is considered a secondary suite?



    Delta Zoning Bylaw No. 7600 defines a secondary suite as an accessory dwelling unit that is located within a single detached dwelling, meets the BC Building Code and has been issued an occupancy permit.  


    A dwelling unit means one or more habitable rooms containing cooking facilities, eating, living and sleeping areas and bathroom facilities, and occupied or constructed to be occupied by a person or persons living together as a single household unit. 


    An occupancy permit is issued when the building permit to construct or legalize the secondary suite is completed.


    When are secondary suites currently allowed?

    In accordance with Section 6.1.8(a) of Delta Zoning Bylaw No. 7600, a secondary suite accessory to a single detached dwelling on a lot is permitted only when all of the following conditions are met

    1. the lot shall have a minimum lot width of 15 m; 
    2. not more than one secondary suite is permitted in each single detached dwelling; 
    3. the single detached dwelling is not occupied by boarders;
    4. the floor area of a secondary suite shall 
      1. be a minimum of 33 m², 
      2. not exceed 90 m², and 
      3. not exceed 40% of the gross floor area of the single detached dwelling excluding the floor area of an attached garage; 
    5. no part of a secondary suite shall be located in an attic of the single detached dwelling; 
    6. 1 parking space shall be provided for a secondary suite in accordance with Part 8 of this Bylaw; 
    7. a secondary suite shall not be used, occupied, allowed to be used or occupied, or advertised for rent unless 
      1. a valid secondary suite occupancy permit has been issued for such secondary suite, and 
      2. all conditions of the secondary suite occupancy permit have been and continue to be satisfied; 
    8. a secondary suite occupancy permit shall be posted within the secondary suite and be clearly visible to the occupants.


    Please note that even if the above criteria are met, there may be other circumstances preventing an owner from being eligible for a secondary suite (such as a land use contract registered on title).  If you are interested in constructing or legalizing a secondary suite on your property, please contact the Community Planning & Development Department at 604-946-3380 or cpd@delta.ca to review your property.

    What are the current parking requirements for a secondary suite?

    Section 8.2.5 of Delta Zoning Bylaw No. 7600 requires that the owner of the lot shall provide, for the exclusive use of the secondary suite occupant, one parking space that:

    1. has unobstructed access to and from the adjacent street for motor vehicles using that parking space, and 
    2. does not obstruct access to and from the adjacent street for motor vehicles using any other parking space on the lot.


    If this requirement is eliminated, owners would still be required to provide an on-site parking space for the secondary suite. However, the secondary suite parking space may have obstructed access to the adjacent street.

    Which other Metro Vancouver municipalities have minimum lot widths for secondary suites?

    None.  

    What do I need to do to construct a legal secondary suite?

    Constructing or legalizing an existing secondary suite would require a building permit issued through the Community Planning & Development Department. The Community Planning & Development Department can be reached at 604-946-3380 or through TalkDelta.


    Depending on the intended use of the secondary suite, you may require a Secondary Suite Rental Permit or other authorization.  Visit Delta's website for further information.