Secondary Suites

In order to preserve and increase the supply of available and affordable housing, the City of Chilliwack has adopted a policy (the Secondary Suites Policy) to permit the rental of secondary suites within any single family home in the City, regardless of the zone of the lot. Additional amendments to the Zoning Bylaw have resulted in the inclusion of Coach Houses and Garden Suites as a permitted use within the R1-A (One Family Residential) Zone. As the R1-A Zone is the most common single family residential zone in Chilliwack, the options for rental housing within existing single family neighbourhoods has significantly increased throughout the City. Amendments to other residential zones are under review as part of the Zoning Bylaw update which will be presented for Council consideration in the summer of 2019.   Click here for Secondary Suites, Coach Houses, and Garden Suites FAQ.

Coach House Design Guidelines

In conjunction with the Zoning Bylaw amendments, the City has established a development permit process for regulating the form and character of coach houses and garden suites. The development permit application must demonstrate the new building meets the established design guidelines before a building permit can be issued. Click here for design guidelines.

Historically, secondary rental suites in Chilliwack were only permitted on a limited basis, through rezoning or in comprehensive development zones. Under the new Secondary Suites Policy, the City will not seek out existing secondary suites that may have been constructed outside the scope of British Columbia Building and Fire Code regulations, prior to May 15, 2018. As such, the City will no longer respond to general complaints about rental suites, but officials will continue to respond to emergencies and instances of potential hazard.

While secondary suites are permitted, residents are reminded that no secondary suite is legal unless it is built with a building permit and meets the BC Building and Fire Code and current flood protection requirements. Moving forward, houses that intend to include a secondary suite will need to obtain all necessary permits and approvals and comply with the BC Building and Fire Code, City bylaws and other applicable enactments. New secondary suites will not be permitted below the flood construction level as per the Floodplain Regulation Bylaw, but coach houses could be considered as an alternative rental option.

The zoning amendments follow a comprehensive review of policies and best practices and extensive community consultation. Click here for the Secondary Suites Study.

For additional information please contact the Planning Department at 604.793.2906 or planning@chilliwack.com.