4 Tips for Homebuyers Purchasing a House with a Rental Unit

Many homebuyers planning to purchase a home may find an appeal in one that comes with a secondary rental unit that can help to generate additional income to offset mortgage payments.

For any would-be landlords who are investing in a home with a secondary unit, we have several recommendations to ensure a smooth and safe process for you and your future tenants.

Tip #1: Have you researched the local laws?

Before putting down an offer on a home with a secondary suite invest time in learning about local zoning laws, building codes, and local bylaws. Check to make sure that the lot your potential home stands on is zoned to permit an accessory unit. This information will likely be posted on your municipality’s website and easily accessible at no extra cost to you.

Tip #2: Do you know the building history?

Once you are familiar with local laws confirm that the unit is legal and meets all necessary codes and requirements, you should research the building history. Ask the seller for all relevant documents and paperwork for the dwelling, including copies of inspections, approvals, permits, and receipts for any work completed. If historical information is limited or outright unavailable, you can reach out to the municipality for confirmation that the unit is legal and safe and meets all provincial and municipal laws and codes.

Tip #3: Is your unit legal and safe?

Your local municipality government can help you confirm if the rental unit was approved through the local permitting process and that it meets all safety code requirements for building, electrical and fire safety. Your agent could be able to help you navigate this process. This is a crucial step to mitigate the chance of injury or property damage. Remember that you can be held liable and even fined if safety codes and bylaws aren’t met and ordered to bring the unit to compliance with the law, which could be a costly and timely undertaking.

Tip #4: LandlordBC is here to help our members

Becoming a first-time landlord can be both exciting and daunting. Landlords need to understand a number of regulations that govern tenancies in British Columbia, including the Residential Tenancy Act, the Human Rights Code and the Personal Information and Protection Act (PIPA). It can be daunting to find out where to start but luckily, LandlordBC is here to help our members from start to finish of any tenancy. In addition to our very helpful legislative helpline, as a member you’ll have access to a plethora of resources and education you can access from the members-only section of our website.


To learn more about LandlordBC membership, the work we do and the support we offer you can reach out to Director of Member Engagement, Kimberly Coates. Kimberly can be reached via email at [email protected] or by phone at 1-855-707-2366.