Secondary Suites in Kelowna – Are They Worth It?

Secondary Suites in Kelowna - Are they worth it?

With the current rental climate in Kelowna and most of the Okanagan currently on fire, the lure of rental income from a secondary suite has grown almost as much as the local house prices. So, whether your already own your home or are looking to build from scratch, we’ve put together a few things to think about before you start cleaning out the basement or drawing up plans.   

Size of Your Home:

The current City of Kelowna regulations stipulates that a secondary suite should be no more than 90m2 and MUST be less than 40% of the total habitable floor space. What this means is;


a) if you have a smaller sized home with a basement suite, you might be restricted to a smaller one-bedroom suite;


b) Regardless of your home’s size, if you’re building a secondary suite within a house, the maximum number of bedrooms you would want is two – you might be able to squeeze in a home office at a push.

Size of Your Home For Secondary Suites

Who are you catering to? Long-term or Short-term tennats.

While the market for long-term renters is on fire right now, the summer rental market is not going backwards either. With units being booked for $400 a night depending on the location and amenities, it doesn’t take a homeowner long to exceed the income from a long-term renter. However, again there are some things to keep in mind. Number one is your lifestyle. If you travel often and are out of town more often than not in the summer, perhaps a long-term renter is better suited. Secondly, who do you want in your home? While more money is great – it can be hard to gauge the potential risks of short-term renters from a profile on an app. While a long-term tenant still comes with some risks, the selection process allows you to do reference and credit checks.


Depending on who you decide to cater towards, this may change your design plans; for instance, storage is unnecessary for a short-term renter, but this is a must-have for a long-term renter!

Building Codes and Permits

As mentioned previously, there are several regulations and restrictions that must be followed when building your legal secondary suite. A permit should be applied for before construction, and a quality builder (us included!) will assist with this process. Additionally, secondary suites come with their own set of building codes that need to be followed. These codes cover everything from fire alarms to the size of windows. That’s where an experienced builder like Working Hands is essential – it is our job to know the code, and we do it well! 

Following Building Codes When Building Secondary Suite

Getting to Know Your Space

While some basement suite renovations are straightforward – with wiring and plumbing where they need to be, others are not. So, it’s essential to get an expert to take a look before you start calculating your additional income and increase in home value (as tempting as it is!). Some builders, including us, will come to take a preliminary look free of charge.

The Verdict

What do we think? If you know who want to rent to, and how; if you have the space; and you’re prepared for the work to retrofit your basement – then yes definitely. A secondary suite can be a great little money-maker that increases the value of your home.

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