15% of secondary suites are illegal says survey

A survey of 5,500 house owners in BC, Ontario and Alberta has found that 15% of them are illegal.

The poll by insurance firm Square One also revealed that 11% of all home owners surveyed rent out part of their home with 14% in Alberta, 13% in British Columbia and 9% in Ontario.

"We wanted to conduct this survey for two reasons," says Daniel Mirkovic, Square One's President. "We're noticing an increase in inquiries by house owners that are renting a portion of their home to non-family members. We wanted to understand what was driving this increase. We also wanted to understand how house owners are coping with municipal laws relating to rental suites in single-family homes."

Extra income was the main reason for renting out part of the home (40%) followed by helping with the mortgage (34%) and for companionship (13%).

Square One's survey found that 17% of rental suites in detached houses are considered illegal with the highest percentage in Ontario (21%) followed by British Columbia at 15%, and Alberta at 14%.

"Most municipal regulations for secondary suites ensure residents have adequate and safe housing options," states Mirkovic. "But some, like the one rental suite per single-family house, are just outdated. It's hard to understand why cities advocating for more affordable housing options would continue to enforce this outdated regulation."

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