Secondary Suite Program & Fee Information
Secondary suites are widely permitted in single family homes in Surrey.
Locations where secondary suites are permitted
On December 13, 2010, Council approved changes to the Zoning By-law to permit 1 secondary suite in each single family home in Surrey, under certain conditions. These conditions include:
- a limit of 1 secondary suite per property
- a prohibition on secondary suites on properties with a coach house
- a prohibition on secondary suites in semi-detached or duplex buildings
- a requirement to provide one additional off-street parking space.
Secondary suites may be permitted in the A-1, A-2, RA, RA-G, RH, RH-G, RC, RF-O, RF, RF-SS, RF-G, RF-12, RF-12C, RF-9, RF-9C and RF-9S Zones. Comprehensive Development Zones that currently permit a single family dwelling but not a secondary suite may be amended to allow secondary suites at a later date.
View the guide to zoningand other possible restrictions on secondary suites.
The Council reportlists secondary suite bylaw amendments and policies.
Learn about the complaint and enforcement process for secondary suites.
Installing a secondary suite
Existing and new secondary suites must obtain necessary building permits and meet safety standards of the BC Building Code.
Homebuilders who don't want to install a secondary suite at time of construction can make the home “suite-ready” (having fire separation, rough-in wiring and plumbing, and means of egress).
Information on suite-ready homes are recorded in the Building Division database and can allow a secondary suite to be added in the future without costly retrofitting.
Contact the Building Division at 604-591-4366 for information on the building permit process and building suite-ready homes.
Learn about the residential building permits.
Check the electrical requirements for secondary suites.
Secondary Suite Registration
After February 1, 2014, if the City of Surrey becomes aware of a secondary suite on any property in the City that is not registered with the City, a $1000 penalty fee will be added to the taxes due on the related property for each unregistered secondary suite at the property. Homeowners are encouraged to notify the City immediately, if their homes contain a secondary suite.
If your property contains a secondary suite, print off and complete the Secondary Suite Declaration Form and fax it to Property & Payment Services at 604-591-4488 or email to firstname.lastname@example.org . You can also mail the form to Property & Payment Services, 13450 - 104 Avenue, Surrey BC V3T 1V8. A signature on the form is required.
Contact Property & Payment Services at 604-591-4181 with any questions on this process.
Secondary Suite Fee Web Inquiry
Check the registration of a secondary suite with the Secondary Suite Fee Web Inquiry.
Secondary Suite Fees 2015
Properties with a secondary suite must pay utility fees and a secondary suite service fee. Since 1997, utility fees have been collected from all known secondary suites in order to allocate the costs of providing water, sewer and garbage services among all users of City utilities.
On February 7, 2011, Council adopted a bylaw that authorized a secondary suite service fee. The annual fee is to pay for the cost of City services, including infrastructure, incurred as a result of additional demand for City services and use of municipal property generated by secondary suites.
Summary of Annual Secondary Suite Fees
|Secondary Suite Service Fee||$526.42|
|Water||Based on water consumption|
|Sewer||Based on water consumption|
|Totals||Consumption plus $668.42|
View the secondary suite service fee bylaw
Hours of operation: Monday - Friday, 8:30am to 4:30pm
|Type of Information||Division||Telephone Number|
|Enforcement procedures or to make a complaint||By-law and Licensing Services||604-591-4370|
|Secondary suite fees||Property Taxes and Utilities||604-591-4181|
Frequently asked questions
Does payment of secondary suite fees mean that the secondary suite is legal?
No. Where a property is in breach of City by-laws, such as the Zoning By-law or Building By-law, the City reserves the right to enforce these by-laws now or in the future. In order to be considered legal, a secondary suite must meet the conditions of zoning, have necessary building permits, and be paying secondary suite utility and service fees.
Are all single family homes automatically able to have a secondary suite?
No. In order to have a secondary suite, certain conditions must be met – eg, the provision of 1 additional on-site parking space. Additionally, each application for a secondary suite must be reviewed for possible legal restrictions such as Land Use Contracts and Building Schemes that prohibit secondary suites on specific properties. For more information, see the guide to zoning for secondary suites.
How do I legalize a new or existing secondary suite?
In order to be considered legal, a secondary suite must
- meet the conditions of zoning,
- have necessary building permits, and
- be paying secondary suite utility and service fees.
A homeowner must apply for building permits to ensure that minimum safety standards are met. When the building permit application is made, secondary suite fees will be charged. For more information on the building permit process, contact the Building Division at 604-591-4366.
Where can I find information on whether a house has a legal secondary suite or is built “suite-ready”?
Prospective renters and homebuyers can find out if a house has a legal secondary suite or is built “suite-ready” by contacting the Building Division at 604-591-4366. The status of a secondary suite can also be searched online using the Secondary Suite Fee Web Inquiry.
Can a single family home have multiple suites?
No. The Zoning By‐law only permits 1 secondary suite per single family home. There are also no safety provisions in the BC Building Code for multiple "secondary suites" in a single family dwelling. Therefore, the City will initiate closure of multiple suites as these properties are identified. The process is responsive with communication between City staff and property owners to ensure that adequate time is provided for tenants to find new accommodation.
How can I make a complaint if my neighbour has multiple secondary suites in a home?
You can make a complaint online or contact Bylaw and Licensing Services at 604-591-4370.