Secondary Suites and Carriage Homes in the Okanagan

Purchasing a home with a suite or carriage house or adding secondary housing on an existing property is often cited as a smart real estate choice.

While not for everyone, suites and carriage houses offer significant advantages and should be viewed as part of your overall investment strategy, not just your real estate strategy. As homes get larger and larger it is common to see significant portions of homes go uninhabited and so renting these areas makes perfect sense.

I encourage all home owner to consider having a suite and or carriage home.

What are the benefits?

  • Mortgage helper for the owner (Passive Income)
  • In-law suite for aging parents
  • Secondary suite for an adult child or student
  • Affordable housing for renters in a lower density residential neighborhood
  • Allows for housing without altering the character of a neighborhood
  • Detached homes generally have greater access to schools and local amenities (good for potential renter)
  • Security - many people enjoy having tenants live in their home and this can add security when the home owner is away
  • Tax benefits for maintenance and repairs to the home

Cons of secondary suites

  • Community acceptance
  • Increased utilities - your costs of ownership will increase
  • Increase of property taxes, average increase of 8% to 10% for homes with 900 S.F. secondary suite over homes over similar homes with unfinished basements
  • Parking (3 off street parking stalls must be provided on site)
  • Residential Tenancy Act in BC is biased against landlords
  • Tenants may cause damage and deposits are too low to recoup costs
  • If the suite is in your primary residence there can be smell and noise nuisance
  • Privacy is often sacrificed

In many neighborhoods in the Kelowna area, Carriage homes or “Laneway” homes have been approved and it is common to see new areas designated for higher density as Kelowna grows. A carriage home is only permitted on a property that is Zoned RU6 or RR zones; this means that unless you have this zoning designation, a property would require a formal rezoning application. Many areas are slated to be rezoned and checking the future community plan can help!

If you are interested in learning more (and I encourage you), here are the local links to city and planning site or feel free to give me a call or email


West Kelowna

Lake Country 

Regional District 






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