Basement suites offer an attractive source of secondary income for homeowners in Vancouver. The monies received in rent can contribute to what may be very high monthly mortgage payments. The intention to receive rental income from the property can influence your mortgage approval amount. When your dream home is in Vancouver, this is a make or break deal.
There may have been a time when you rented out a basement suite from the owner because it was (and still is) a more affordable option. Your rent was lower to compensate for the low ceilings, dark and dingy rooms with little natural light, and poor ventilation. This throwback might give you a sense of nostalgia if nothing else. But now that you’re considering being a landlord you have a lot more stringent building codes to adhere to.
Here’s everything you need to know about authorizing your Vancouver basement suite.
In a nutshell, an authorized basement suite has passed the minimum requirements per the BC building code for secondary suites. These requirements include size, accessibility, and safety measures that deem the area to be fit for accommodation. An unauthorized suite may very well meet these requirements, but hasn’t gone through the permit process. Use these quick links to view the requirements in your city:
Technically, yes. In fact, 80% of rental suites in Greater Vancouver are not authorized. Unauthorized basement suites are also referred to as “illegal” suites. The Rental Tenancy Act (RTA) applies to all rented suites, regardless of “legal” status. Unauthorized basement suites are rented out with little to no issues, which is why this number is so high. Many people don’t bother going through the authorization process because the RTA defines the roles between tenant and landlord.
The question becomes is it even worth getting your basement suite authorized?
There will be some renovation, or finishing costs involved to bring your suite up to code. The age and condition of your home – or potential home if you’re in the market to buy – will determine how much of investment this is. The upfront cost might be intimidating at first, but it’s important to consider the long term advantages:
The city recognizes that basement suites are an important source of affordable housing. The permit certifies that your accommodation is built safely, of high quality, and deemed suitable for living. The combination of additional income, recognition and appreciation from the community, and ease of approval from a mortgage lender are all good reasons for homeowners to get this done.
If you’re looking to purchase or sell a home with a secondary suite, it’s best to work with an experienced real estate agent.
I can help you navigate through the legal questions, clauses, and terms that need to be answered so that you can make the right decision for your future.
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RE/MAX All Points Realty
102-321 Sixth St,
New Westminster, BC, V3L 3A7