Legal vs Illegal Basement Suite in BC

When it comes to wanting to put a basement suite in your Abbotsford home, there’s a big difference between a legal vs illegal basement suite. Our team at Coleridge Construction will often walk through the process with our clients to help them fully understand the implications.

We are always pro legal basement suite, because overall we hate to watch our clients throw money down the drain. When a client chooses to pursue a suite without legalizing it, that is essentially what is happening. 

Our team at Coleridge Construction put together a list of some of the major topics that surround renovating a legal basement suite in your Abbotsford home.

To Speak with Our Construction Experts
Please call 604.302.6312

What is the main difference between a legal vs illegal basement suite

To be considered a legal basement suite your planning, preparation, and construction would need to involve going through the city permit process. The permits focus on proper fire protection and overall safety because of the added risks involved with adding another living space to your home.

Does this process cost more

Yes, but just a minimal amount and the benefits pay forward continually. The process of going through city permits does cost a little more, around 2k-4k, with plans, city permit expense, and possibly engineering being needed. But the benefits stated above concerning increased home value only happens when you go through the proper channels of a legal basement suite.

What are the risks of NOT doing a legal basement suite

Unfortunately, there are lots of risks. By not going through the proper channels for renovating a basement suite, you open yourself up to city fines either during construction and even afterwards. Tenants possibly being mandated to leave by the city, fire and other safety hazards and in the end, money wasted. The last thing you want is to have to replace aspects of your project after construction is completed in order to get it suddenly permitted. Not to mention time and putting yourself legally at risk for having to break your lease with your tenant for this permit process to take place.

Our post on the BC Housing Basement Suite Incentive Program is worth a read.

I bought a house with an illegal suite; can I turn it into a legal suit basement suite?

Yes. For this process you typically can not be currently renting your basement suite out. We would then need to submit a permit to the city and they would let us know what areas of your home that they are required to make your home up to code for a legal suite. This would usually include areas of fire protection, ventilation, and possible drywall fixes. Sometimes it will be very challenging and sometimes it is very straightforward. However, the overall priority is the safety of your family and your future tenant’s family.

If you are still trying to decide between a legal vs illegal basement suite, we can help. If you’ve already started process of wanting to turn your basement into a legal basement suite, our team at Coleridge Construction would love to connect with you.

Please contact us online or call us at 604.302.6312

See our attached pdf, as to why a legal basement suite could be the best investment for your home.

Home Maintenance Checklist (PDF)

Similar Posts