Skip to content

Delta, BC government pushing for more secondary suites

New legislation will require municipalities to update their bylaws for all residential single-detached zoned lots to allow a minimum of one secondary suite and/or one accessory dwelling unit
There are currently approximately 3,700 secondary suites in Delta that have an occupancy permit, with about 2,700 having rental permits, but the city is hoping to increase that number to help meet its housing target. Delta Optimist file

Delta council last week gave final approval for a series of bylaw amendments aimed at streamlining secondary suite applications and reducing barriers for owners to lease or rent suites.

The changes include, among other things, removing the requirement for a person to hold a valid rental permit to lease or rent a secondary suite and removing the licence fee for a suite from the business licence schedule.

The bylaw amendments are in alignment with the new provincial housing legislation.

Delta, over the past few years, has been making several zoning and Official Community Plan (OCP) changes to facilitate more units, one of the strategies outlined within the city’s Housing Action Plan.

The city recently also introduced the Home Suite Home program to encourage homeowners to add a secondary suite to their existing homes.

The program includes a limited time offer for the waiver of building permit application fees, as well as a free pre-application process with the option of having a city “Secondary Suite Ambassador” attend a secondary suite before the permitting process begins.

The intent of the service is to help homeowners better understand the process in achieving an approved suite, with the estimated savings to the property owner at approximately $400 to add a unit to their existing homes.

Meanwhile, the B.C. government this month announced the launch a three-year pilot of the new Secondary Suite Incentive Program.

The program will offer forgivable loans of as much as 50 per cent of the total cost of renovations, up to a maximum of $40,000, for successful applicants to add a secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit, such as a garden suite, laneway house, carriage home, on the property of their primary residence.

The loan can be forgiven if the new unit is rented at below market rates for at least five years.

Homeowners in most B.C. municipalities and regional districts can apply.

As far as the latest City of Delta efforts, during a staff presentation this year on the proposed new OCP, it was noted one of the recommended action items for the city to undertake is lobbying the province to change the Building Code to allow more than one secondary suite per single-detached dwelling.

Delta’s housing needs report found that about 75 per cent of the rental stock is provided as secondary rentals, such as suites in detached homes or rented condos.

The amount of primary, purpose-built rental in Delta only accounts for approximately five per cent of Delta’s housing stock.