Blog by Brenda Russell

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Victoria Secondary Suites

City of Victoria Mayor Fortin attended our office meeting recently and presented updated information regarding Secondary Suites in Victoria single family dwellings.  It was very informative, Mayor Dean Fortin considers himself as 'a little less talk and more action'.  I created this short video of information provided from Victoria's City Mayor Fortin.  Guidelines and grant information re: homeowners installing secondary suites.

Short Video of Victoria's City Mayor Fortin Explaining The New Guidelines For Secondary Suites In Homes


What is a Secondary Suite?

A secondary suite is a legal rental suite, located within a single family detached house.  A seondary suite cannot be strata-titled.

Housing is the top priorty for Victoria and secondary suites play a role in creating housing options.  42 units in Dockside Green were created for afordable housing.  These new guidelines will offer the opportunity for seniors to stay in their home and children to play in their backyard.

Two zoning changes were made in 2007 that started to make it easier for a legal suite to be built.  Removing on-site parking was the first and allowing secondary suites in houses of ANY age was the second.

Mayor Fortin was happy to announce so far that there are eight new suites in Fairfield, seven in Fernwood, ten in Gonzales, six in James Bay, three in the Jubilee area, one in Rockland, and five in the Vic West area of Victoria to learn more check out the video blog for the complete chart outling all the totals.

March 26, 2009 these changes were approved and introduced a grant program.   Each individual grant will equal 25% of construction costs to a maximum grant of $5,000.  Who is elegible to apply fo the grant?  Applicants must be the owner and occupant of the single family detached house within the City of Victoria for which the grant is requested.

Secondary suites offer homeowners a variety of benefits and increase the amount of safe, affordable housing in Victoria.  They can serve as a mortgage helper, provide a sense of security and increase the value of a home.

Once I install a secondary suite, do I have any legal responsiblities as a landlord?

Yes.  Contact the Rental Owners and Managers Society of BC (ROMS BC) at 250.382.6324.

When is a suite considered legal?

A suite is considered legal when all the required building, plumbing and electrical permits have been applied for and approved, and where all work has been completed, inspected and final Occupancy Permit issued by the City of Victoria.

A building Permit requires that a homeowner comply with the secondary suites standards in the BC Building Code.

The first step to legalizing an existing suite is to contact the City of Victoria's Zoning Division at City Hall at 250.361.0316.

The City of Victoria is committed to being a sustainable community.  There are a number of resources you can access in order to construct an energy-efficient suite:  City Green Solutions    BC Hydo Powersmart  and  LiveSmart BC.

I hope you found this helpful and if you have any questions regarding real estate in Victoria please call me direct at 250.744.4556 or email me at  Please stay tuned for more updates.