Saturday, September 6, 2008

Flywheel - Secondary Suites - Penticton

After 13 years since the allowance of secondary suites in the BC Building Code. The city of Penticton has opted to recognize that secondary suites are a necessary evil in today's housing market. Until recently, like many municipalities Penticton had turned a blind eye to the growing number of suites acting on a complaint only basis for bylaw enforcement. But with the growing price of housing in the area, there is little chance a first time home owner could carry a mortgage without a suite. There is also a growing trend for Baby Boomers to help their children out by sharing a single family home or having someone live in their 2nd residence as they travel abroad or go south for the winter. As most financial do not recognize legal or non-legal suites, this has forced many to go under the radar or flat out lie to inspection departments and finish the suite area off after final occupancy inspections have been granted for new homes. Some municipalities have blurred the lines by allowing "in-law" suites but many have been phasing this abused option out as well such as the City of Kelowna.

As someone who rented for 12 years in the Lower Mainland and was an in inspector in the Coquitlam, one of the first municipalities to legalize suites in BC, I've seen the need to make affordable rental safe for both tenant and land owner.

But before you get too excited, there are a number of catches, particularly with adding a suite to an existing single family home. Besides the additional permit fees, including $100 to register the Housing Agreement at Land Titles ( This is prove that the owner of the property of the home lives in the house containing a suite). There are some weird provisions for maintaining the look of the existing home as well as restrictions to adding onto the home once a suite has been installed. It appears additions to the home are not permitted to add a secondary suite or it may not be allowed to update the exterior of your home when adding a suite. It is unclear if it it would be allowed to add to your home one year and make a suite the next. Secondary suites are not allowed in detached buildings often called "carriage homes".

The city of Penticton planning department is in the process of reviewing some of the suite requirements and can be reached at PENTICTON SECONDARY SUITES or contact us for more information or a free on-site consultation at Flywheel Building Solutions - 250 859 6062

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