Investing in a Basement Renovation

Kelowna homeowners are using basement renovations to generate income with legal suites.

Kelowna homeowners are using basement renovations to generate income with legal suites.

Kelowna has one of the lowest rental vacancy rates of any city in Canada. As such, many homeowners are investing in basement renovations to create legal suites so that they can take advantage of the high demand. However, before deciding to proceed with an interior renovation, it’s important to understand what’s required.


Whether you’re using it to house a family member or you intend on offering it as a rental, there are many aspects to consider when planning a legal suite, including:

  • Building permits
  • Parking
  • Privacy
  • Building amenities


Do You Need a Building Permit for Basement Renovations?

As with most remodelling projects, you will likely require a building permit from the City of Kelowna prior to commencing work. Any time you make changes to the structure or systems within your home, you will require one. This includes things like:

  • Moving or removing walls
  • Altering door or window openings
  • Installing fireplaces
  • Home additions
  • Altering plumbing and electrical systems

You will also need to ensure your proposed suite will be in compliance with the city’s zoning regulations, as well as the BC Building Code. If you’re working with renovation specialists, they’ll be able to assist you with this. 

For more on this read: Things to Discuss with Your General Contractor. 


Budgeting for Amenities

Depending on the space you have to work with, and your budget for basement finishing, you can choose to install a range of suite amenities. Of course, you’ll need the basics—kitchen, bathroom and living area—but there are other features to consider, such as a self-contained laundry. If space permits, including a separate bedroom will allow you to charge higher rental fees.

In Kelowna, you are required to provide tenants of legal suites with their own outdoor space. If your budget permits, you could enhance this area with things like: 

  • Patio
  • Garden
  • Landscaping
  • Fire pit

Any extras you provide will allow you to command a higher rental fee.

Dedicated tenant parking is required by the zoning bylaw, as is a lighted pathway to the suite entrance.


Enjoy Your Privacy

For your own privacy, and that of your tenant, soundproofing any shared walls is a worthwhile investment. It will allow you to coexist under one roof and allows for a more amicable landlord-tenant relationship.

If you have an unfinished basement, soundproofing will be easier, and it also provides greater flexibility to design your suite the way you want. The tradeoff, however, is that it will likely increase your overall construction costs to complete it.

While legal suites in Kelowna aren’t required to have separate entrances, it is recommended for your own privacy and security to install one where possible.



Make sure your basement renovations meet all of the criteria for a legal suite in Kelowna by calling Rafter 4K Contracting. Our interior renovation specialists have a deep understanding of the BC building code and local zoning regulations.


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