Garden Suites

What is a Garden Suite?

A garden suite is a legal, detached, ground-oriented rental suite located in the backyard of a property with a single-family home as its primary use. Garden suites are designed to be long-term rental housing; they cannot be strata-titled or utilized as short-term rental (such as AirBnB). Garden Suites require a delegated development permit (a development permit approved by staff), and all necessary building permits.  

Creating a garden suite is another option for introducing a rental suite on your property where a secondary suite does not already exist. Property owners may convert an existing accessory building if it meets policy guidelines, or build something new.

Where are Garden Suites permitted?

Eligible locations for a garden suite in Victoria include all properties that contain only a single-family detached dwelling and are appropriately zoned (most single-family zones except for small lot zones permit garden suites). The proposal must meet all requirements of the Zoning Bylaw Schedule M – Garden Suites and should incorporate the design guidelines contained in the Garden Suite Policy and Guidelines. Properties that already have secondary suites, or an existing duplex, are not eligible.

Neighbourhood Plans may contain specific policies regard garden suites in conjunction with other housing types.  Please refer to your Neighbourhood Plan to determine applicable policies. An additional application would be required to construct a garden suite that does not comply with the restrictions specified in Schedule M.

I want to build a Garden Suite. What do I need to do?

  1. Check to see if your property is eligible for a garden suite:

  2. Review the Garden Suites Policy and Guidelines.
  3. Review your project for compliance with the Tree Preservation Bylaw. If the siting of the garden suite or any servicing to the garden suite impacts bylaw-protected trees on your property or a neighbouring property, an arborist report may be required.
  4. Contact Development Services to discuss your plans and the requirements for your application.

  5. Fill out the Delegated Development Permit Application for Garden Suite. The application form lists all documents required for your application. When you have all the documentation together, you are ready to submit your application.
  6. Submit your application and all the supporting documentation to zoning@victoria.ca. Staff will contact you to arrange payment and advise of any missing information.

  7. City staff will review the application for compliance with regulations and policies. This may involve site visits on the subject property. The applicant will receive a written summary of requirements to complete the application.

  8. Revisions may be required for compliance with the Garden Suite design guidelines or the Zoning Regulation Bylaw.

  9. Once your Delegated Development Permit is approved, contact Permits and Inspections to obtain the necessary permits to allow for construction.

  10. When all permits are in hand, you are ready to build.