Secondary Suites

Secondary suites provide an important form of affordable housing in the City of Maple Ridge that benefits both renters and homeowners.

What is New?

At the April 26, 2022 Council Workshop, Council received a report that presented eleven accessory dwelling unit (such as secondary suites) regulatory options that would support affordable housing options by expanding the rental stock in a community where infrastructure and amenities, such as schools, parks, and shopping/services, already exist. At this meeting, Council directed staff to bring forward a report that provides detailed information and description of the amendments for ten of the eleven recommendations. The ten recommendations are:

  1. Removal of the maximum and minimum gross floor area requirement for secondary suites 
  2. Development of ‘Alternate Compliance Methods for Alterations to Existing Buildings to Add a Secondary Suite’ in the BC Building Code 
  3. Options to potentially allowing secondary suites in all single-detached residential zones 
  4. Permitting secondary suites in ground-orientated duplexes and townhouses 
  5. Permitting secondary suites and detached garden suites on the same lot in the Agricultural Land Reserve 
  6. Allowing flexible siting of a detached garden suite on a lot 
  7. Removal of the minimum gross floor area requirement for detached garden suites 
  8. Permitting larger detached garden suites in specific residential zones 
  9. Permitting secondary suites and detached garden suites on the same lot in all residential zones 
  10. Development of program, for council consideration, that would create “pre-approved” building plan templates for detached garden suites

Council also directed that the current bylaw enforcement related to the issue of unregistered secondary suites be held in abeyance while the work to expand the secondary suites and detached garden suites program is underway. At this workshop meeting, Council directed staff to not bring forward a report with potential amendments to permit lock-off suites in apartments and stacked townhouses.

To read the April 26, 2022 Council Workshop Report, click HERE.
To watch the April 26, 2022 Council Workshop (starts 01:00:00), click HERE

Expanding where secondary suites are permitted
At the September 27 Council Workshop, Council directed staff to move forward with an engagement plan to seek feedback from the community on permitting secondary suites in the R-2, R-3, and the RT-1 (duplex) zones. The public engagement process is anticipated to commence in late January and run through March 2023. The input received from the public engagement process will be compiled into an outcomes report and recommendations will be presented to Council for input and to provide direction on next steps that may include bylaw amendments. 

To read the September 27 Council Workshop report, click HERE
To watch the September 27 Council Workshop, (starts at 0:45:10) click HERE.

Change in size requirements
On September 27, 2022, Council adopted Zone Amending Bylaw No. 7857-2022, which proposed to remove the maximum and minimum gross floor area requirement for secondary suites as well as remove the minimum gross floor area requirement for detached garden suites. Secondary suites must not exceed 40% of the total Gross Floor Area of the building.

  • To read the July 19, 2022 Committee of the Whole Report, click HERE.
  • To watch the July 19, 2022 Committee of the Whole meeting (starts 2:20:00), click HERE
  • To watch the July 26 Council Meeting (First & Second Reading) (starts 1:11:15) click HERE.
  • To watch the September 20 Public Hearing (starts 09:00) click HERE.
  • To watch the September 27 Council meeting (Third and Final Reading) (starts 03:09) click HERE.

Secondary Suite Regulations

All secondary suite regulations can be found in the City of Maple Ridge Zoning Bylaw 7600-2019. The following information provides a summary of the regulations that apply to secondary suites within Maple Ridge:

  • Secondary Suites are permitted in specific zones, please refer to the Zoning Bylaw.
  • One secondary suite per lot is permitted and it must be contained within the same building as the single detached building.
  • Secondary suites must not exceed 40% of the total Gross Floor Area of the building.
  • Secondary suites must not be situated within the Floodplain Area.
  • Secondary suites must not be used for short-term/ vacation rentals.
  • Secondary suites are not permitted where there is a Bed and Breakfast, Boarding, Detached Garden Suite, Temporary Residential, Caretaker Residential, or Two-Unit Residential on a lot.

Business Licence Requirements

A Business Licence is required if there are two rental units on the property. This means if the upper floor is being rented and there is a secondary suite in the lower level that is also being rented, the property owner must have a business licence in order to rent both dwellings. 

There is a business licence fee for rental units and there is a one-time Application Review Fee of $500. To obtain a Business Licence, please visit:


Building a Secondary Suite? 

Building permits are required for any new construction or renovation of a secondary suite. A registered owner or authorized agent for the owner may apply for the building permit. For building permit application requirements, guides and bulletins, please visit: 

The City of Maple Ridge has launched a new online permit application guide, intended to help make it easier for people to prepare their building permit applications!

This online guide will provide you with specific property information, such as your zone and servicing connection, as well as the forms and plans that are required in order to submit an application for your building project.
To access the online guide, click HERE.

How do I know if my Secondary Suite is “Registered”? 

A registered secondary suite is a self contained area within a single detached dwelling that contains cooking facilities, a living area and a bedroom area that has gone through the building permit process. A registered secondary suite has been approved by the Building Department. The City has developed a tool for residents to search if a property has a registered secondary suite. If you are unsure if a secondary suite has been registered, please visit:

Work to Date

The review of current accessory dwelling unit programs (secondary suites and detached garden suites) has been underway since Fall 2017. Below are links to the most recent staff reports regarding secondary suites.

·         June 25, 2019 Council Workshop Agenda/Report

·         September 17, 2019 Council Workshop Agenda/Report

·         July 14, 2020 Council Workshop Agenda/Report

·         November 17, 2020 Committee of the Whole (CoW) Agenda/Report

·         November 24, 2020 Regular Council (First and Second Reading) Agenda/Report

·         January 19, 2021, Public Hearing Agenda/Report

·         January 26, 2021, Regular Council (Third and Adoption Reading to remove owner occupancy requirement) Property owners no longer have to live on the property that has the secondary suite. However, properties that have two rentals on the property are required to hold a valid Business Licence in order to lawfully rent out both dwelling units. Agenda/Report 

·         To see the recordings of each meeting, please visit the webpage link here

Looking for More Information?

Please feel free to contact the Planning Department by emailing the department or by phone at 604-467-7341 at any time with questions or comments about Secondary Suites.