Adding a secondary suite to your home in 2023? You’ll need to know these important building codes

In many Canadian cities, renting housing is becoming increasingly unaffordable. As a result, several towns are revising their building laws to allow for more innovative residential designs. It's all part of a larger attempt to address the country's affordability crisis.

It is well worth your time to examine the creation of a secondary suite if you're searching for a pretty simple, low-risk home investment opportunity.

But first, if you would like to learn how to finance the construction of an additional suite on your property, click the link below to learn how to do so by using the equity you have already built in the home with a free strategy call.

A Closer Look at Secondary Suites

Secondary suites are rental revenue units that are either attached to or located on the property of your primary residence. For renters, secondary suites are frequently less expensive than apartment complexes. Furthermore, compared to acquiring a full apartment building or even a single-family home as a rental income property, they present a significantly lower barrier to entry for real estate investors.

Secondary suites are self-contained residences with kitchens and toilets, although they may share common areas with the primary property, such as yards and laundry facilities. Basement suites, garage flats, garden suites, and other sorts of additional suites are common.

Because the federal and state governments realise the critical role that secondary suites play in resolving the country's affordable housing crisis, various provincial and municipal financing initiatives exist to aid in obtaining the cash needed to install them.

Zoning and Secondary Suite Codes

If you believe that establishing a supplementary suite is in keeping with your investment goals, make sure that the suite you construct is legal. Secondary suite rules differ greatly from province to province and municipality to municipality. As a result, it is generally a good idea to check with a local zoning official before constructing your secondary suite.

Before you start building or renting a supplementary suite, familiarise yourself with the zoning and building codes in your area. Even if you rent out an illegal secondary suite unknowingly, you may be exposing yourself to serious legal consequences.

While the restrictions vary, these are some examples of secondary suite requirements in some of Canada's hottest housing markets:


Secondary suites are allowed in Coquitlam, British Columbia, as long as they don't take up more than 40% of the main house's floorplan. In addition, investors in Coquitlam who want to build a second apartment in their property will have to offer a separate parking place for their tenants.


Each primary residence in Kelowna, British Columbia, can only have one secondary suite. Furthermore, secondary suites are only permitted in areas designated with a “S” designation. In Kelowna, homeowners who want to build supplementary suites will need at least three off-street parking spaces.


Secondary suites are notably complicated in Calgary, with restrictions varying from neighbourhood to neighbourhood and even block to street. Secondary suites are now easier to build in several Calgary districts thanks to zoning legislation granted in 2008. However, before constructing a secondary apartment on your Calgary home, you should contact with a land use attorney.


Proposed reforms before the city council in Toronto might make it considerably easier to build extra suites. Toronto has allowed the construction of secondary suites in downtown townhomes since 2000, but not in suburban neighbourhoods. The new guidelines would standardize secondary suite laws across the city and remove the requirement that principal houses be at least five years old before a secondary suite can be built.

Discover How To BRRRR With This Step By Step Guide

Incentive Programs

There are incentives involved with developing secondary suites in addition to being a fantastic source of rental income. Depending on where you invest, your secondary suite could earn you some wonderful advantages as towns encourage more inexpensive rental options:

Grants to First Nations from the federal government

If you live on a First Nations reserve, you may be eligible for a federal programme that will provide you with up to $60,000 to help you build an inexpensive secondary suite rental linked to your principal home. The money is given to you as a 100% forgiving loan that you don't have to pay back if you fulfil the program's guidelines. Communities in the far north may be eligible for up to a 25% increase in funding.

Edmonton Cornerstones II program

The City of Edmonton will provide you with up to $20,000 for the development of supplementary suites that meet certain criteria. If you sign a five-year commitment to lease the suite to low-income Edmonton residents, the city will match 50 percent of your secondary apartment's construction costs.

Lethbridge Pre-Existing Secondary Suite Grant

The City of Lethbridge, Alberta, offers a unique program to bring secondary suites built before 2006 up to code. If you bring your apartment up to code and have it inspected, the city will reimburse you for half of the remodelling expenditures, up to $2,500.

Manitoba Secondary Suites Program

Manitoba residents can have up to $35,000 worth of their secondary suite building costs funded by a forgivable loan from the provincial government. To get the money, you'll have to sign a 10-year contract with the government. The Manitoba funding also support carriage houses and garden suites in addition to in-home suites.

Niagara Secondary Suites Program

You may be eligible for the Niagara Secondary Suites Program if you own a home in the Niagara region of Ontario. If you agree to rent your secondary suite to a qualifying low-income Ontarian, you could get a forgivable loan of up to $25,000 over 15 years. You can be eligible for an extra $5,000 if you're developing an accessible secondary suite.

These are only a few of the current active programs aimed at assisting homeowners in the construction of extra suites. A number of communities, including Calgary and Saskatoon, refund or eliminate the permitting fees connected with the building of a secondary suite in addition to monetary and financing incentives.

A cost-effective strategy to develop your first rental income property is to build a secondary suite in accordance with local codes and municipal requirements. Using a provincial or local program to partially fund the construction of your secondary suite can help you increase your profit margins significantly. These programs are a wonderful way to recoup the initial expense required to establish your secondary suite with the correct research and action.

If you would like to learn how to finance the construction of an additional suite on your property, click the link below to learn how to do so by using the equity you have already built in the home with a free strategy call.

Thinking of Putting A Secondary Suite? Get Familiar With The Building Codes First w/Scott Dillingham