Secondary suites may solve city's low rental rate

Construction of more secondary suites in homes may be the solution to increasing available rental properties in town, say city staff.

According to the city’s land use department, secondary suites in single detached homes are becoming more and more popular among homeowners.

Kevin Brooks, the city’s senior planner, said staff have received several requests from owners wanting to build a secondary suite in their home.

“Secondary suites are a viable approach to diversifying rental stock, providing increased affordable housing options (and) providing a mortgage helper for homeowners,” said Kevin Brooks, the city’s senior planner.

“Secondary suites are typically used as rental units and therefore increasing the number of units in the community may impact the overall rental market.”

Brooks said staff have received several requests from owners wanting to build a secondary suite in their home which is good news for those looking to rent.

Right now the vacancy rate for rentals in Campbell river is just more than seven per cent, which is down from a recent high of 9.2 per cent.

Brooks said to the best of his knowledge that there are at least 600 secondary suites in the city, but not all of them may be legal.

Council has been trying to encourage more secondary suites and at Tuesday’s meeting, council approved an application from homeowner Maryanne Creech to build a secondary, wheelchair accessible suite for her daughter in her South Murphy Street home.

Brooks figures that application is just the start of what’s to come.

“Due to the timing of the application and council’s interest in secondary suites, it is expected that staff will see an increase in rezoning applications to permit secondary suites,” Brooks said.

“There is increasing community interest to permit secondary suites in single detached homes.”

It’s expected secondary suites will be evaluated and addressed during the city’s upcoming review of city zoning bylaws, which will assess potential regulation and criteria for those suites.

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