Advice & tips from Kelowna Electricians at Epic Electric
Whether you’re in the market to buy your first home, are upgrading to bigger home, or just looking for an investment property, a rental suite is a very important consideration. Rental occupancy rates in Kelowna are incredibly low, and many homeowners are considering adding or upgrading their rental suites to serve as mortgage helpers and as an important source of additional income. Not only do homes with a rental suite command a premium on their sale price, but mortgage lenders tend to appraise the value of these properties higher, as do potential buyers. The two types of suites – secondary and legal – come with their own requirements and benefits. Here’s what you need to know to reap the rewards of a rental suite addition or renovation to your home while at the same time remaining inside the boundaries of the law.
DEFINITION OF A LEGAL SUITE
A secondary suite is a self-contained residence, located within a single family house, that has its own entrance, kitchen, bathroom and living area. A building permit and a business licence are required to ensure the secondary suite is legal, and the business licence must be renewed every year. To qualify as a ‘legal’ suite, the apartment will need to meet certain zoning, property, occupancy, health and safety, fire and electrical standards. Usually this involves the suite being its own residence separate from the rest of the home by its own walls, floor, and doors. A legal suite may also be required to have its own fire separation from the main household; special fire-rated drywall, doors and floor assemblies along with fire extinguishers and interconnected smoke alarms; handicapped access or additional off-street parking; and access to the electrical panel and natural gas shutoffs in a common location. Municipalities and their bylaws differ, so you need to check with your local municipality to ensure you’re abiding by all the necessary legal requirements.
BENEFITS OF A LEGAL SUITE
The most obvious of the benefits in installing a legal suite is the financial gain from rental income. You can also subsidise some of the many costs that come with home ownership, such as utility bills. One particular advantage is separate metering for utilities based on tenancy usage. This way you can more accurately bill your tenant for the total energy consumed within the rented space. A rental suite will increase the value of your property and give it enhanced marketability when you come to sell your home.
EXPENSES OF A LEGAL SUITE
At the same time you need to be prepared for the additional expenses you will incur from adding a legal suite. Besides routine maintenance costs, you might also have to upgrade your homeowners’ insurance or pay for scheduled safety inspections. Rules regarding electrical safety will depend on the laws of your municipality. Your legal suite will have to undergo an inspection by fire and electrical safety departments, who will assess the property and identify any hazards that need to be fixed. Also, having a legal suite makes you a landlord, and you are therefore obliged to maintain the suite in good order, or you could face difficulties such as tenant abatement of rent or a fine for not abiding by your municipality’s tenancy regulations.
Before you start any construction or renovation to your home, it would seriously benefit you to have an inspection done of your house’s electrical system. Epic Electric offers you a complete electrical service: from electrical panels to fire alarms, from outlet installation to smoke detectors, from dryers to rewiring, and from inspections to installations, we have you covered. And with our competitive prices you can be certain of getting the very best service at the most affordable cost. Contact us today to learn more.
Contact Epic Electric in Kelowna (250) 859-5195
Source: Permitting Secondary Suites | CANADA MORTGAGE AND HOUSING CORPORATION