Secondary Suites

In order to preserve and increase the supply of available and affordable housing, the City of Chilliwack has changed its zoning regulations to permit the rental of secondary suites within the R1-A (One Family Residential) Zone. Additional amendments to other zones are under review as part of the Zoning Bylaw update which will be reviewed by Council this summer. Click here for Secondary Suites, Coach Houses, and Garden Suites FAQ.

Coach houses and garden suites will also be permitted in the R1-A Zone in accordance with approved development and building permits. In conjunction with the zoning amendment, the City has established a development permit process for regulating the form and character of coach houses and garden suites. The development permit 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 a new Secondary Suites Policy, the City will not seek out existing secondary suites that may have been constructed outside the scope of City building and fire code regulations, prior to May 15, 2018. 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 located in a permitted zone 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 in floodplain areas, 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.

April 17, 2018 Presentation to Council

For additional information please contact the Planning Department at 604.793.2906 or