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Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

West Kelowna and Peachland topics.

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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby shaq » Aug 26th, 2012, 9:55 am

really great information and views. I appreciate all of them. I do think its a cash grab tho . Our area in glenrosa isnt arent high end houses or monster houses. all of the suites I know of are reasonable rents. Our basement has windows and would have own entrances. One lady I know lost her job last year, shes 60, cant find job, has a lovely house she has owned for 20 years and if she didnt have a tenant she would lose her house. So, now our district is making her legalize it or evict her tenant. It will cost her alot of money to legalize it, then have to declare her income as well, this is not helping her at all. or her tenant.
I also heard it didint matter if it was family renting or not.. does it have to be a child, or a mom, or a cousin? what does it matter?

thank you for the links for information. I know the law is different now that we are WEST KELOWNA, but I am sure I herd on the nes that City of Kelowna wasnt pursuing people with "illegal suites" ..

I will definalty pass all this information on to our neighbours.

thanks so much!
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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby Boda » Aug 26th, 2012, 10:35 am

[quote="Sn0man
Renters won't take a suite that isn't 'suitable' for them. Compliance with building codes is also an issue of $ for the city (permits etc) and not necessarily about safety.[/quote]


I don't think it's so much a safety issue as a liability issue. A governing body which enforces building codes can also be held responsible if builder meets the required codes and the building later fails in some way. That's why we have inspecters and I'm quite sure the governing body doesn't make money from issuing permits and enforcing codes.

I have a question that doesn't seem to be addressed in the West Kelowna bylaw page someone posted earlier.
Can an owner that purchased a larger house in a single family residential West Kelowna neigborhood maintain two seperate rental agreements and not live in said house?
It seems to me that the "spirit" of the secondary suite bylaw would imply a home owner could rent out their basement suite if they lived there, but does the bylaw give the owner a license to rent both suites?
Quite likely my interpetation of the spirit of the law is incorrect can anyone clarify?
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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby waterwings » Aug 26th, 2012, 10:48 am

It think it is a safety issue (the second escape being a 3 foot square window 7 feet off the floor), liability issue, neighbourhood issue (four families in a 2 bedroom home), parking, fire (proper wiring for more than 1 220 appilance) etc. etc.. I also think there should be a process to register the rental with the federal government so proper tax is paid on the rental money. Heck many landlords may spend money on repairs and maintenance, Its a good thing when the landlord lives with his rented out basement but there is no by-law that says he has to or could there ever be except if you bought a strata home on corporation property.
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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby Boda » Aug 26th, 2012, 11:14 am

waterwings wrote:It think it is a safety issue (the second escape being a 3 foot square window 7 feet off the floor), liability issue, neighbourhood issue (four families in a 2 bedroom home), parking, fire (proper wiring for more than 1 220 appilance) etc. etc.. I also think there should be a process to register the rental with the federal government so proper tax is paid on the rental money. Heck many landlords may spend money on repairs and maintenance, Its a good thing when the landlord lives with his rented out basement but there is no by-law that says he has to or could there ever be except if you bought a strata home on corporation property.



Thanks for the input Waterwings. You may be correct but I'm not convinced yet.
West Kelowna is amending a bylaw that prohibited secondary suites. From what I understand this amendnent is targating what was previously refered to as in-law suites, with the goal being to make them legal but do you think they are wanting to turn single family residences into multi suite rentals? Where's Jim Dickson? He'll set us straight.
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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby waterwings » Aug 26th, 2012, 4:50 pm

In law suites are only illegal if the person living in them isn't part of family.
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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby sidewalker » Aug 26th, 2012, 8:23 pm

waterwings wrote:In law suites are only illegal if the person living in them isn't part of family.


Sorry i don't know the difference between inlaw and secondary suites, but DWK told a friend of mine one of the above is illegal and enforceably so if they know the address.

'Any second kitchen (cooking facilities) within a single family dwelling would constitute as a secondary suite. It does not matter whether or not the two parties living in the home are related are not. As well, one of the conditions required in order to register a secondary suite is that the home owner needs to be living in the home...Any use of the second kitchen would be an illegal use, as it would be considered a secondary suite at that time. If the home owner does not live in the home, the only way to legalize a secondary suite would be to go through the rezoning process. Only the home owner may apply (a lessee is not considered an owner-in-law), and this application would be processed through our Planning Department.'

The penalties are thus:
'All known illegal suites are charged 100% sewer and water utility fees (as opposed to 40% of sewer fees and a second flat rate for water fees for legal secondary suites), as well as the possibility of $500 fines for offenses related to owner occupancy, registration and renewal, and illegal use.'
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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby OnTheRoadAgain » Aug 26th, 2012, 9:30 pm

waterwings wrote:It think it is a safety issue (the second escape being a 3 foot square window 7 feet off the floor), liability issue, neighbourhood issue (four families in a 2 bedroom home), parking, fire (proper wiring for more than 1 220 appilance) etc. etc.. I also think there should be a process to register the rental with the federal government so proper tax is paid on the rental money. Heck many landlords may spend money on repairs and maintenance, Its a good thing when the landlord lives with his rented out basement but there is no by-law that says he has to or could there ever be except if you bought a strata home on corporation property.


Property tax on rental income would be income tax, not property tax.
The homeowner pays property tax whether he has tenants or not.
The homeowner can rent out both suits, but cannot then claim the homeowner grant, the owner pays income tax on rental income after epenses, and the property becomes income property which results in capital gains tax when sold.
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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby OnTheRoadAgain » Aug 26th, 2012, 9:32 pm

sidewalker wrote:
'Any second kitchen (cooking facilities) within a single family dwelling would constitute as a secondary suite. It does not matter whether or not the two parties living in the home are related are not. As well, one of the conditions required in order to register a secondary suite is that the home owner needs to be living in the home...Any use of the second kitchen would be an illegal use, as it would be considered a secondary suite at that time. If the home owner does not live in the home, the only way to legalize a secondary suite would be to go through the rezoning process. Only the home owner may apply (a lessee is not considered an owner-in-law), and this application would be processed through our Planning Department.'

The penalties are thus:
'All known illegal suites are charged 100% sewer and water utility fees (as opposed to 40% of sewer fees and a second flat rate for water fees for legal secondary suites), as well as the possibility of $500 fines for offenses related to owner occupancy, registration and renewal, and illegal use.'


where is the link to this information?
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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby sidewalker » Aug 27th, 2012, 5:11 am

This was in an email from
Clerk - Building & Regulatory Services
> District of West Kelowna
> 2760 Cameron Road
> West Kelowna, BC V1Z 2T6
> Ph: 778.797.8820 Fax: 778.797.1001
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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby graham2007 » Aug 27th, 2012, 6:34 pm

Well it looks like the District Of West Kelowna wants to make it even less affordable to live to own or to rent. A lot of homeowners count on that mortgage helper, and most people who have suites provide a place to live for others. I guess if they are going to be shutting down all the non registered suites there will be a lot of people forced to sell there houses who either cant afford to go through all the costs required, or cant have there place rezoned. This will force a lot of people who are already on the brink over the edge. I do beleive if the suites in question are unsafe or not upkept then by all means shut them down, but to the ones who are providing a good clean safe affordable place to live should be left alone. District of West Kelowna should back off, i know during the next election i will be very carefull who i vote for.
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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby waterwings » Aug 27th, 2012, 7:59 pm

ARe you telling me that homeowners who have not gone through a process to legalize the suites in their home are more entitled to larger useage of infrastructure than the homeowner who does not have extra people using the infrastructure. What process would you use to get rid of those landlords making money and not paying a fair share of useage of fire protection, garbage, etc. etc. etc.
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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby Sn0man » Aug 28th, 2012, 9:04 am

waterwings wrote:ARe you telling me that homeowners who have not gone through a process to legalize the suites in their home are more entitled to larger useage of infrastructure than the homeowner who does not have extra people using the infrastructure. What process would you use to get rid of those landlords making money and not paying a fair share of useage of fire protection, garbage, etc. etc. etc.


How do you figure those households are using more infrastructure? By the extra garbage bag dropped into the same bin the homeowner uses every week? What difference does it make in terms of fire protection? They're going to the same house whether it be upstairs or downstairs.

A dwelling can only house so many occupants. A two story house could be used to house a single family with a bunch of kids requiring that family to use both floors, or two small families, or a family on one floor and an individual renter on another. Who's to say that any of these use more "infrastructure" than the others? It's still one house. Your argument is baseless.

Occam's Razor - The only thing the city cares about is extracting as many $ from residents as they can.
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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby grammafreddy » Aug 28th, 2012, 9:19 am

graham2007 wrote:Well it looks like the District Of West Kelowna wants to make it even less affordable to live to own or to rent. A lot of homeowners count on that mortgage helper, and most people who have suites provide a place to live for others. I guess if they are going to be shutting down all the non registered suites there will be a lot of people forced to sell there houses who either cant afford to go through all the costs required, or cant have there place rezoned. This will force a lot of people who are already on the brink over the edge. I do beleive if the suites in question are unsafe or not upkept then by all means shut them down, but to the ones who are providing a good clean safe affordable place to live should be left alone. District of West Kelowna should back off, i know during the next election i will be very carefull who i vote for.


Rather than wait until the next election, rally the troops and make this an issue now. Public discontent, used effectively, can make change happen. Many politicians make decisions based on their standings at the polls in the next election - not for the good of the community after they are elected. They quickly develop Alzheimer's about what they "promised" to do before any election. If they had affordable housing on their pre-election platform, they need to be reminded. Secondary suites are one of the most effective ways to create affordable places to live - it costs the city next to nothing to allow them but quite a large amount to search out, license and police the illegal ones when they start legislating them. Perhaps some staffer is building an empire is another thought that comes to mind. Or it could be a NIMBY attitude happening inside the walls of City Hall.

This council is not even a year old. They can be swayed.
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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby waterwings » Aug 28th, 2012, 10:30 am

I am pretty much not a odds taker, HOWEVER, I would right now give you odds that most posters on this forum either have never had a renter or need the money that they get from their renter.

An extra person in a home costs a great deal of infrastructure dollars to taxpayers, for fire, ambulance, police, water, electricity, gas, on and on and for the taxpayer to be paying for these maintenance, repairs and upgrades costs money in the public system. Oh sure one extra flush of the toilet in your house doesn't add up to much but how many flushes are made by another familiy or even single renter living in a home. Garbage - how will you limit one or two extra bags to the pail? Petty, I know! But it all adds up and being self serving to have that extra money in your pocket does cost the HOMEOWNER and TAXPAYER.

And, oh yeah, that capital gain that is not collected cause the rental amounts are never revealed costs taxpayers huge personal taxes.
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Re: Secondary Suites in West Kelowna

Postby Sn0man » Aug 28th, 2012, 11:35 am

waterwings wrote:
An extra person in a home costs a great deal of infrastructure dollars to taxpayers, for fire, ambulance, police, water, electricity, gas, on and on and for the taxpayer to be paying for these maintenance, repairs and upgrades costs money in the public system.


How? In the case of a house renting a basement suite, all these utilities have been hooked up already to the house in question and would be being used whether there was a renter there or not. Also, how are utility costs a public concern when they are paid by the home owner in the form of fees and property taxes (which are paid on the value of the land, not on the number of occupants).

How does it increase costs for fire, ambulance, or police? Costs for these services are based on population, not on who lives where.

Unless you can show me how these costs to the public are increased by a homeowner renting out a basement suite I call BS.
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