Secondary Suites

The purpose of this handout is to outline the City's regulations regarding secondary suites. For further inquiries, please contact the City of Penticton, Development Services Department at 250-490-2501.

What is a secondary suites: A secondary suite is a self-contained, accessory dwelling unit located within a single detached dwelling, which has at least one (1) habitable room, used as a residence by one (1) or more persons living as a household, with self-contained sleeping, living, cooking and sanitary facilities and direct access to the outside, without passing through any part of the principal residence. 

A business licence is required: Prior to the rental or occupation of a secondary suite a  business licence must be obtained from the City's Business Licence Department.

SECONDARY SUITES - Click here for business licence application [PDF - 72 KB]


Where are secondary suites permitted: Secondary suites are permitted within a single detached dwelling in any of the following zones:

Rural Zones

Urban Residential Zones

FG (Forestry and Grazing)

R1 (Large Lot Residential)

A (Agriculture)

R2 (Small Lot Residential)

RC (Country Residential)

R3 (Small Lot Residential: Lane)


RD1 (Duplex Housing)


RD2 (Duplex Housing: Lane)


RM1 (Low Density Cluster Housing)

What are the zoning regulations that apply to secondary suites: City of Penticton Zoning Bylaw 2011-23 has a number of regulations which encourage the successful integration of secondary suites into single family areas. Adherence to these regulations must be shown on building plans drawn to scale and including a compliance table:

Development Regulations

Maximum gross floor area:

40% of the total net floor area of the principal residence up to a maximum of 90m2

Minimum gross floor area:


Amenity space:



One (1) space in addition to the required parking for the single detached dwelling.

Owner Occupancy

A secondary suite must not be occupied as a residence except where the owner of the property primarily resides in either the secondary suite or principal dwelling unit.

If the registered owner ceases to reside in either the suite or principal dwelling unit the secondary suite is not permitted to be rented out.

Limitations of suites

Only one (1) secondary suite shall be permitted per single detached dwelling.

Sewer Service

Secondary suites must be connected to a community sewer system unless the lot is 830m2 or larger and meets the requirements for an on-site sewer management system as regulated by the Public Health Act.

Strata Title

A secondary suite may not be sited or located on a separate parcel from the principle residence or be created as a strata lot within a single detached dwelling.

Building Permit approval: Prior to contructing a secondary suite, a building permit and/or plumbing permit must be issued. Applications for building permit approval are made through the City of Penticton Building Department and must include sufficient information for City staff to evaluate the plans against the BC Building Code requirements for secondary suites. Some of the things that building officials will be looking for are interconnected smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, proper fire separation between the suite and the principal dwelling and suitable access and egress, upon other items.

The Building Department will require the following materials prior to accepting an application for building permit approval:

· A completed application package

· Certificate of Title (including any restrictive covenants and easements)

· Agency agreement (if the property owner wishes to assign an agent to make the application on their behalf)

· Two (2) sets of plans including a site plan and floor plan of the principal dwelling and suite

An application package may be picked up at City Hall (171 Main Street, Penticton) or downloaded on line. It is recommended that the applicant speak with a staff member from the Building Department prior to making a formal application to go over the expectations of the application documentation. Building Department staff can be reached at 250-490-2501. Inspections will be conducted to ensure compliance with BC Building Code requirements.

How can I legalize a pre-existing suite: Getting an occupancy permit for a pre-existing suite is a similar process to constructing a new suite. Evidence must be provided that the suite generally conforms to the BC Building Code requirements for secondary suites. This is done through the building permit process spoken to above. Plans must be provided that show that the work that was done was completed in line with the BC Building Code. Alternatively, a report from a registered professional confirming that the suite meets the minimum health and safety standards may be submitted with the building permit application. Either way, an inspection of the existing suite by a city Building Inspector will be required before the suite can legally be occupied.

What is the cost for a secondary suite building permit application: The cost for a building permit is based on the value of construction; so the price will vary based on the amount of work to be done. When an application for building permit is made, an application fee of $130.00 must accompany the application. If the construction cost is such that the permit fee is higher than $130.00 then the remainder is due at the time that the permit is ready to be picked up.

Speak with your neighbours: To successfully integrate secondary suites into neighbourhoods that may not have suites currently adherence to the secondary suites regulations are integral. Prior to making plans to create a secondary suite speak with neighbouring property owners to take into consideration any concerns they may have. Integrate parking and amenity areas in a way that will not infringe on the privacy of neighbouring residents or in a way that changes the character of the existing neighbourhood. City staff are available to help with planning for your suite.

Bylaw enforcement: Please be advised that City of Penticton Bylaw Enforcement Officers will be actively enforcing the secondary suite regulations. Property owners who operate secondary suites without City approvals will be subject to bylaw enforcement, which may include fines and decommissioning the suite.