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Secondary Suites

Secondary Suites in Abbotsford

A secondary suite is defined as a portion of a single-family house which is established as a separate dwelling unit from the principal part of the house. It is typically a finished basement with kitchen facilities, a separate entrance from the exterior, and a lockable fire rated door between the second set of cooking facilities and the remainder of the principal dwelling.

Secondary Suites are required to be registered with the City. Registration confirms that suites comply with the BC Building Code and Abbotsford Zoning Bylaw No. 2400-2014. A number of legal, health, life safety, fire protection, and zoning requirements must be met for a suite to be registered.

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Brochures & Resources

View our Secondary Suite Guide (also available in Punjabi).

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Zoning Requirements

A Secondary suite must comply with the following provisions:

  • located in a RR, CR, SR, RS1, RS3, RS4, RS5, A1, A2, A3, A5, N11 or RMF zone, subject to regulations;
  • only one secondary suite is permitted on the property;
  • a suite is limited to a maximum floor area of 90 square meters (970 square feet) or 40% of the total floor area of the building, whichever is less, except within the RS6-C zone, up to a maximum of 55m2;
  • a secondary suite is not permitted where there is a Residential Care, accessory Boarding or Coach House use on the lot; and
  • at least one off-street parking space must be provided for the secondary suite, in addition to the two spaces provided for the principal dwelling. 

The secondary suite must meet the BC Building Code and City of Abbotsford Building Bylaw No. 1274-2003 requirements for health, fire, and life safety;

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  • Existing suite registration fee (infrastructure fee also required for current year) - $572
  • New suite registration fee - $260
  • Infrastructure fee paid through property taxes on annual basis - $260
  • Suite removal permit - $62.50 

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Illegal Suites

Please note that all necessary permits must be in place for a secondary suite. In addition, permits are required for all building and plumbing alterations and improvements and must meet BC Building Code compliance standards.

If the City becomes aware of an illegal secondary suite, either through a Bylaw complaint or other means, a thorough investigation will be conducted by City Bylaw Officers to determine whether a suite removal permit is required. Typically, when there is a separate area downstairs that has locking doors separating it from the remainder of the principal dwelling and it has a kitchen with a cooking device, it is considered a separate dwelling unit.

Property owners with unauthorized suites may be subject to a $250 fine per day under the Bylaw Notice Enforcement Bylaw No. 1703-2007 for every day that a suite is not registered. To avoid being fined, property owners must register their secondary suites with the Building Permits and Licences Division.

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Suite Removal

If an owner chooses to remove a secondary suite independent of a Bylaw complaint or Services file, the following conditions apply:

  • locking devices, which separate the suite from the remainder of the principal dwelling unit, must be removed;
  • ensure the door between the second set of cooking facilities and the remainder of the principal dwelling is a non-fire rated door; and
  • suite removal fee of $62.50 is to be paid (this fee is increase to $260 where there are two (2) or more non-conforming suites being removed).

An inspection is done by a City official to confirm the suite has been removed. Once the City has confirmed that the suite is removed, the property tax base is changed. Any suites not removed by May 1 will have the $260 infrastructure fee included in the property tax notice for that current year.

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For more information

Planning Services Division (2nd Floor, City Hall)
Tel: 604-864-5510

Building Permits & Licences Division (1st Floor, City Hall)
Tel: 604-864-5525

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