Garden Suites

Update: Changes to Garden Suite Zoning and Design Guidelines

At a meeting of Council August 8, 2019, Council passed a motion amending the Zoning Regulation Bylaw Schedule M - Garden Suites:

  • Limiting the immediate conversion of a new accessory building to a garden suite - effective immediately
  • Reducing the height of Garden Suites on ‘plus sites’ to 4.2m (maximum) - effective November 1, 2019.

Click here to view the Council meeting webcast.

Council also directed staff to amend the Official Community Plan Bylaw to revise the Garden Suite Design Guidelines to remove redundant information, clarify content and offer additional guidance. This work will occur in the coming months.

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. Contact Development Services to discuss your plans and the requirements for your application

  4. Apply for a Delegated Development Permit for Garden Suite Application Form

  5. The application form lists all the documents required for your application. When you are ready, contact Development Services to book an appointment with staff to submit your      application
  6. Once approved, contact Permits and Inspections to obtain the necessary building permits
  7. When all permits are in hand, you are ready to build.