17% of rental suites are illegal homeowner study finds

Published: August 3, 2017

Updated: July 24, 2018

Author: Luke Jones

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A large number of rental suites in detached houses across Canada’s most populated provinces are illegal, according to a new survey. A poll conducted by Vancouver-based Square One Insurance Services Inc. showed that seventeen per cent of rental suites in Ontario, Alberta, and British Columbia are considered illegal.

The study was conducted amongst 5,500 homeowners in the provinces, showing the rental suite market is growing, with       11% saying they rent out parts of their home to non-family members. Alberta is seeing the most growth with 14%, following by B.C. with 13% and Ontario with 9%.

Seventeen per cent of rental suites in detached houses in Ontario, Alberta and British Columbia are considered illegal, a new survey from Vancouver-based Square One Insurance Services Inc. has found.

“We wanted to conduct this survey for two reasons,” Daniel Mirkovic, Square One’s president, said in a statement on Wednesday. “We’re noticing an increase in inquiries by house owners that are renting a portion of their home to non-family members. We wanted to understand what was driving this increase. We also wanted to understand how house owners are coping with municipal laws relating to rental suites in single-family homes.”

Most (40%) say the rent suites for extra income, to help with mortgage payments (34%), and for company (14%).

“While mortgage-helpers are well, helpful, there are many municipal regulations that house owners need to be aware of,” Square One stressed in the statement.

17% of the rental suites are considered illegal, with 21% in Ontario, 15% in B.C., and 14% in Alberta. “The actual percentage is likely to be considerably higher as residents may be reluctant to disclose illegal rental suites,” Square One suggested.

“Most municipal regulations for secondary suites ensure residents have adequate and safe housing options,” Mirkovic said in the statement. “But some, like the one rental suite per single-family house, are just outdated. It’s hard to understand why cities advocating for more affordable housing options would continue to enforce this outdated regulation,” he contended.