Kelowna Legal Secondary Suite


Legal Secondary Suites are becoming a popular source of additional income for many homeowners across Kelowna & BC.

A Basement Secondary Suite can be a great use of unused space. It also has reliable long-term investment potential with respect to increased property value & rental income throughout ownership of the home.

Having said this, there are a few things you’ll want to keep in mind when considering a Registered Legal Suite. There are By-Law requirements needed to ensure any home would be approved for secondary suite development.

A few years ago now, the City of Kelowna & surrounding municipalities  adopted a more streamlined approach to the Legal Basement Suite building guidelines to make it easier for homeowners & contractors alike.

Prior to the mandate, basement construction projects such as this were a little tricky to get approvals at an efficient pace to keep up with the many applications being submitted to city council. The review process could sometimes take many months as each application had to go through city council & be voted on.

Now the review & approval process is completed by the Building Planning & Development office which handles the standard basement development applications as well, making it much more efficient to complete the required paperwork. The average process now takes 8-9 weeks.

At Aalto Renovations + Development we are an experienced Legal Secondary Suite Company in Kelowna, Penticton, Vernon & surrounding areas. If you are considering a Basement Suite project we would welcome you to use our Contact Us page to get in touch. We would be happy to schedule a convenient time to meet & discuss your project & help with advice to make the process as simple & straightforward as possible. We can handle all the paperwork & permit applications to make the process much easier for homeowners.


Some things homeowners should keep in mind when considering a basement rental unit is there a few items that are required to meet specific Building & Development codes. Some of the following are:

– Separate entrance for tenants

– Separate Heating System

– Fire Separation & Safety between units

– Egress window size for safety in bedrooms

– Electrical Panel & Mechanical access for both units

– Designated parking Etc


So as you can see there are a number of different requirements needed to properly complete a fully compliant Secondary Suite than a normal Basement Development. The City of Kelowna will not sign off on these projects without the proper paperwork & requirements & we’ve seen instances of homeowners making costly & avoidable mistakes trying to circumvent these requirements. It is far easier to complete it correctly the first time & avoid any potential issues in the future. We are Licensed Legal Suite Contractors & we can help homeowners with the process to help avoid these issues.


When considering any Secondary Suite project for rental or otherwise, the proper paperwork should always be first on the list. We cannot emphasize enough the importance of having all Legal Secondary Suite permits & Construction Permits in order.

First & foremost it gives homeowners the peace of mind to know things were completed correctly & verified by the City of Kelowna.

It is not a bad thing to have these various inspections & it contributes to better building community overall.

Secondly, the liability for any future accidents(Fire, Flood etc) are just not worth the cost of trying to “Sidestep” the rules & guidelines over a few hundred bucks worth of permits.

The Legal Secondary Suite permit process in not complicated if you know the process and what paperwork is required.


When it comes to total Legal Suite Development cost there is no doubt that the initial investment will be higher than a standard Basement Construction project. The specific requirements to meet safety & Building Codes are different & should be thought of as such. It should also be kept in mind that you are essentially building a self contained apartment in a basement. All the procedures, safety measures & materials used to build your main floor must be duplicated downstairs. This means kitchen/appliance components, laundry components, heating/ventilation components, bed & bath components etc.

Now having said that, if completed correctly & with a little forward thinking a basement rental unit can be an excellent source of both short term & long term investment potential. The average new build has a 8-12% ROI long term property value increase & whatever rental income collected in the short term. It’s a win-win by most standards.

Choices of finishings are the main factor in total development costs for any project. The questions a homeowner should consider when trying to estimate a budget are personal preference in almost every case:

Does the homeowner want the kitchen to have an island..?

What type of appliances are being considered..?

Stone or Laminate countertops..?

Is there a separate entrance existing or is one needed..?

There are so many variables that make each Legal Basement Suite unique. Typically a fully Legal Secondary Suite with all required permits & completed correctly can cost between 45k-55k+ and above for higher end finishings or large basements. Again you have to remember, you are building a fully contained apartment in a basement. These average costs consist of new kitchen cabinets, countertops, appliances, separate heating system, separate entrance, labour, permits, materials & required licensed trades (ie electrical, plumbing, gas, hvac etc)

To assess any type of accurate project cost on a Registered Legal Suite project, we would welcome to schedule a time to view the space & discuss the ideas or requirements a homeowner may be considering.. We view each project with objectivity, discuss options, and give our best advice to help with the most important decisions that need to be made.

Many homeowners are surprised when discussing what the City of Kelowna requires to develop a legal rental unit & we are happy to help homeowners with the information needed to make informed decisions & make any project run smoothly.

Although there is some red tape that come with these projects, the process is relatively straightforward & can be completed fairly easy if you know the process & what the city inspectors will require to meet all building code requirements.


Legal Secondary Suites are sometimes referred to as a “Mother in Law Suite” or “Carriage Suite”. Although these references are not the legal description, the concept of these projects are usually the same. If a homeowner intends to rent out a part of their home or install a kitchen in the basement the rules governing these projects are also the same.

As an experienced Basement Suite Development & Renovation company we can help homeowners understand the nuances of what is required to complete these projects and what the City of Kelowna will require to sign off on these projects.