BC to allow secondary suites in housing type favoured by Lisa Helps

WatchRenters across the province are in for some good news. The building code across B.C. is changing to allow more options for secondary suits. And as Julian Kolsut found out, cities like Victoria could get huge benefits from the move.

The B.C. Government will be changing the province’s building code to allow for secondary suites in duplexes and townhouses.

Local governments will soon be able to allow secondary suites in the side-by-side multi-family buildings.

Victoria’s Mayor Lisa Helps spoke at a provincial affordable housing announcement Friday, saying “missing middle housing”, like townhouses and duplexes, are a great idea for the city.

“Not everyone wants to live in a downtown condo, and not everyone can afford a single-family home, missing middle housing townhouses, duplexes, houseplexes, that’s what’s in the middle and that’s what’s going to be the future of our city,” said Helps.

The City of Victoria has not yet commented specifically on the changes.

Size restrictions for secondary suites are also being tossed, except for some crown land and in the City of Vancouver.

Local governments will be able to set their own restrictions on size.

Helps says missing middle housing is a great way to use space, and could greatly help alleviate the housing crunch.

“[A city report showed] an increase of people living in our city in their 20’s, and then people leaving our city in their 30’s because they can’t afford to raise a family here. Missing middle housing is the answer,” said Helps.

The province says they are happy with the progress they have made in the housing crisis but agree there is lots of work left to be done.

“I am incredibly proud of the fact we have 22,000 [affordable] units underway or being built,” said Carole James, B.C.’s Minister of Finance.

‘That will make a huge difference in simply two years. [But] more to do you bet, and we are not stopping here, this is just the start.”

It will be up to local governments to allow the secondary suites. The changes to the building code start Dec. 12.

Julian KolsutJulian Kolsut

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