I am considering adding a secondary suite. What do I need to do?

Talk to Development Services staff at 250-294-8153 to confirm that your property is suitable for a secondary suite and to discuss what the requirements are. They can review the Secondary Suite Checklist with you and direct you other key contacts in the City to move forward with a Building Permit.

More information about the requirements around secondary suites can be found in the Colwood Land Use Bylaw, where they are referred to as Accessory Dwelling Units.  

Important Updates to Secondary Suite Permitting in Colwood

​May 2017

The City of Colwood has repealed the bylaw related to secondary suite permits and will be amending the Land Use Bylaw to repeal references to permit requirements for secondary suite and accessory dwelling units. 

Secondary suites and accessory dwelling units (detached suites) continue to be permitted uses in zoning, and new secondary suites will simply be authorized by building permit. However, it is no longer necessary to obtain or renew separate secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit permits.

Durin the public hearing, residents encouraged the City to review other regulations concerning secondary suites. Staff anticipate that these items will be addressed when the City's Land Use Bylaw is updated.

Suites will still be subject to BC Building Code requirements for fire and life safety (e.g. smoke detectors) as well as suite configuration and parking requirements in the Land Use Bylaw (zoning). All zones that previously allowed for secondary suites and accessory dwelling units continue to do so. Therefore, secondary suites will continue to function as an important component of Colwood’s rental housing inventory.

Mayor Hamilton notes that with the current lack of rental housing in the capital region, secondary suites are an important part of the housing equation. “Suites make home ownership more affordable and provide options for renters,” said Hamilton. “We want to make the secondary suite process easy for people while fine-tuning regulations to ensure suites are built safely to code, and that they don’t expose the city or its taxpayers to undue liability.”

If you require further information regarding secondary suites in Colwood, please call 250-478-5999 or email planning@colwood.ca.