Written on March 3, 2017
What’s New with Unauthorized Suites in Nanaimo?
Unauthorized Suites have been long tolerated by the City of Nanaimo as they were considered an important part of our rental housing stock. Until recently the City investigated unauthorized suites on a complaint basis only. That is, if a neighbour complained about an unauthorized suite, then a City inspector would investigate. The home owner would be given the choice to upgrade their fire safety or decommission the suite.
In recent months the City has become more pro-active in their investigations. Home owners with unauthorized suites should be aware that they could be called upon, at any time, to upgrade or eliminate their suites.
In order to decommission a suite the City is now requiring three main actions:
- Remove the wiring for the stove, and strip it right back to the circuit box
- Remove and cap-off the plumbing for the sink. A bar sink may be permitted, with a building permit.
- Remove all the upper cabinets from the kitchen area
The families who are finding this most frustrating are the ones who are not using the suites as rentals. It seems like a non-issue when they are using the whole house for their family. They, too, will be required to remove the secondary kitchen facilities.
The City of Nanaimo is getting serious about upgrading the quality and safety of secondary suites in our city. Long term, that is a good thing for everyone. Short term, it is causing some unpleasant and expensive surprises for some home owners.