Secondary Suites

Secondary suites offer homeowners a variety of benefits and increase the amount of safe, affordable housing in Victoria.

A secondary suite is a legal suite, located within a single-family detached house and cannot be strata-titled. Currently, secondary suites are only permitted in single-family homes with one existing dwelling; for example duplexes or homes that already contain a garden suite are not eligible for a secondary suite.

Secondary Suites

Secondary Suites Design Guidelines

Victoria homeowners who are considering installing a secondary suite in a single-family home have some helpful design tips to guide them. The City's Secondary Suites Design Guidelines are meant to assist homeowners develop a secondary suite that will enhance the unique features of their home and neighbourhood.

The guidelines are easy to use and are divided into five categories:

  1. Overall Design of the House
  2. Landscaping and Parking
  3. Private Outdoor Space
  4. Design of Secondary Suite Entrance
  5. Suite Livability

The guidelines are advisory only and must be used in conjunction with Victoria's Zoning Regulation Bylaw and the British Columbia Building Code.

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 a final Occupancy Permit has been issued by the City of Victoria.

Getting Started

If you are planning to construct a secondary suite, your first step should be to ensure that your property complies with all necessary zoning and other requirements for the construction of a secondary suite. The City's Sustainable Planning and Community Development Department, located on the second floor of Victoria City Hall, can assist you with these inquiries. Office hours are 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m., Monday to Friday.

Once you have confirmed that your property complies, you must apply for a Building Permit at Victoria City Hall. To learn more about the process and to have your specific questions answered, contact: Zoning at 250.361.0316 and/or Permits and Inspections at 250.361.0342. A Building Permit requires that a homeowner comply with the secondary suites standards in the BC Building Code.

More information, including a Secondary Suite Building Permit Checklist is available on the Permits and Inspections webpage.

Direct link to secondary suite checklist can be found here (PDF).

Greening Your Suite

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:


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