Monthly Archives: January 2013

Rental Suites in Nanaimo – What homeowners need to know

Published By: on January 31st, 2013 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Written on January 31, 2013

What’s the difference between Nanaimo’s AUTHORIZED suites and LEGAL suites?

1.Authorized/unauthorized suites refer to suites that were built before Feb. 7, 2005. Before that date there were no rules about suites. Once the City of Nanaimo decided to recognize these suites as an important part of city’s “housing stock”, regulations were introduced. Existing suites were then referred to authorized or unauthorized suites. Newly built suites were referred to as legal or illegal suites.

In order for a pre-2005 suite to be considered authorized it must meet all the “life safety issues” that appear in the building code. The main ones are as follows:

-Fire spread – 5/8” drywall in the ceiling and walls separating the suite from the main part of the house. Also there must be a separation of heat venting from the suite.
-Fire egress – windows in all bedrooms (big enough to climb out of), and appropriate door exits.
-Hard-wired smoke alarms

2. Legal/illegal Suites Any suite built after Feb, 2005 must meet all the building code standards in order to be considered a legal suite. In addition to the above issues, these suites must be no more than 40% of the total square footage of the home (using outside measurements). They must also have independent laundry, water shutoff and heating.

3. What if your suite is not authorized or legal? There are many unauthorized and illegal suites in Nanaimo. These are investigated on a “complaint basis”. This means that the City of Nanaimo tolerates the existence of these suites unless there is a complaint made, usually by a neighbour.  As of today (Jan 31/13) Nanaimo has a backlog of more than 300 suites to investigate for Life Safety Issues.

4.What happens if you are investigated? Nanaimo City inspectors will give you a list of improvements that need to be made with a deadline. If these improvements are not made then the suite will be decommissioned, usually by removing the 220 wiring for the stove.

5. What if you are buying a home with an unauthorized or illegal suites You can still rent the suite out, but be aware that if a complaint is made against you and the city investigates your suite, you may be facing some expensive upgrades. Income from an unauthorized or illegal suite cannot be counted on; therefore your lender will not accept the rent as part of your income.

6. How many suites are there in Nanaimo? Naturally it is impossible to know how many unauthorized or illegal suites are in the City of Nanaimo. However, we do know that there have been 1,500 legal suites added to Nanaimo’s housing stock since 2005. In 2011 and 2012, 60% of new homes were built with legal suites.

This influx of secondary suites has raised the vacancy rate in Nanaimo to 7% in 2012 (according to CMHC stats). This is good news for renters as the average rental price drops. It is bad news for homeowners who wish to rent out their suites. Landlords have had to drop their prices and work harder to attract good renters.

What You Need to Know about Household Mould!

Published By: on January 15th, 2013 in Category Nanaimo Real Estate News

Written on January 15, 2013

What you need to know about moud in your home

Daryl from Discovery Home Inspections came to our sales meeting this week to educate us about the issue of mould in homes. Mold has become a hot-button issue in the past few years, with lots of misinformation floating around.  It is helpful to know that most molds found in our homes are harmless and easy to get rid of. Our environment is full of mold spores. They are a part of our natural world and should not be a source of alarm or fear.

Apparently 85% of household moulds are caused by “life-style issues” and can be fixed by better ventilation or more heat.  This is especially true of the mould found on many interior windows. Most molds are from vapour and condensation – not water infusion.

  • Black mould found in many attics is not harmful if the source is dealt with. Mainly this means better ventilation. It will not spread to the house because it is carried upward by the home’s heat.
  • White mould destroys wood. It can be easily dealt with by using an encapsulating spray. This creates a barrier between the mould and the air it needs to grow.
  • Mould around the tiles in a shower are most often in the old caulking. This is simple to scrape out and replace with new chaulking.
  • Most moulds can be removed by a good scrub with warm soapy water. It is not good to use bleach. It is no more effect in removing the mold than the soapy water and the fumes are not good for you.
  • When there is water damage, remediation is a simple matter of cutting away and replacing the effected material and, of course, fixing the source of the water.
  • Most mould on the exterior of stucco buildings is just surface mould caused by porous paint and wet weather. It can be simply washed off. To watch for more intrusive water damage look for bowing in the wall or vertical cracks that have not been repaired. Vertical cracks are a normal occurrence but they do need to be filled, when they occur, in order to prevent water intrusion

Here’s the link the Environment Canada’s website on the subject:

If you are unsure about whether you need to be concerned about mould in your home give Darryl at Discovery Home Inspections a call. He is a certified Mould Inspector and Remediator. 250-713-4811-713-4811    250-713-4811