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A Legal Suite can be a great change to any home environment.  Whether you are looking to house a family member or to create a rental property, a legal suite is a great way to increase the value of your home and make it more marketable.  Now that you have the idea where do you start?  This is where Kelowna renovation contractors Rafter 4K can help.  The renovation process for a legal suite can be tricky, but at Rafter 4K we will work with you every step of the way to alleviate the complications while incorperating your ideas about the project.

Legal Suite Renovation Options

There are many aspects to consider when planning a legal suite.  The basics, a kitchen, bathroom, and living area may be obvious, but there are other essential details if you are looking to attract potential tenants.  Features including in-suite laundry, a separate entrance and parking area, insulation and sound barriers, and a private outdoor space are all components to be considered.  As Kelowna home renovation contractors, we can work with you to determine the range of features available within your budget, and determine the best way to incorporate them into your legal suite.

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Along with the living environment, building codes and safety are important factors when incorperating a legal suite into your home.  A seperate entrance is a must in a legal suite, along with an egress window large enough to be used as an alternative escape route.  From meeting requirements such as lockable door separations and fire safety standards, there is a lot to know.  At Rafter 4K we know the safety requirements and can ensure sure your suite is built accordingly.

Legal Suites FAQ

There are numerous requirements to ensure a secondary suite qualifies as a legal suite, and our team has the knowledge and experience to ensure these requirements are met.

Some requirements include the following: the space must be located within a residential building with a total floor area of no more than 90m2, less than 40% of the total habitable floor space, there must be a lit pathway leading from a designated parking area to the exclusive entrance of the suite, smoke and carbon dioxide alarms must be hardwired for power and interconnected through each unit, and a fire-rated door, lockable in both directions, must be installed between units, each bedroom must have an egress window or door in place that can be opened from the inside. 

Contact us for a discussion or site visit to see if your home is a possible candidate for a legal suite.

As defined by the city of Kelowna, a secondary or legal suite is “a self-contained dwelling, located within a single-family dwelling, that has its own entrance, kitchen, bathroom and living area. It must be interconnected to the primary dwelling and is restricted in size based on the size of the principal dwelling.”

There are certain specifications to be met for a space to be able to become a legal suite, so to determine if your home can have a legal suite, you should consider the following factors.

First, consider if you have space, usually a basement, that can be separated into a self-contained unit while remaining attached to the principal area of the house. After that, you need to see if you have a private outdoor space that can be dedicated to the legal suite, and an existing entrance or the possibility for one entering directly into the suite. If you don’t think your house has these, don’t worry! We would be happy to come to take a look and see if a little bit of planning and creativity would make a legal suite possible. 

The time it takes to complete a legal suite project has a lot to do with the space you are starting with and the specifics of the project. A basement that is not already a separate space with its own amenities may require framing and drywall changes, door installs and more, therefore taking longer than a basement that already has a separate entrance and amenities, maybe meeting the criteria for an illegal suite. This is just one example of how projects may differ, talk to us to get an idea of how long your legal suite renovation may take!

Many basements do have the potential to be converted into a legal suite. However, the necessary changes to meet code specifications vary from basement to basement. Due to the nature of building codes, there are some basements that are not a good fit to be converted into a legal suite. We would be happy to meet with you and look at your basement to let you know if a legal suite is a possibility, and if so, what changes need to be made. 

In preparing for a legal suit renovation, it is important to realize that these projects can often require a substantial financial investment and can be more intensive than they seem on the surface. Beyond that, it is helpful to be aware of the building codes that apply to legal suites and any municipal specifications. If you aren’t too sure about the codes, don’t worry, our team has extensive knowledge of the requirements for legal suites and would be happy to walk you through them. If you are moving ahead with the changes, you may want to make sure the main/upper living space is fully functioning independently prior to the renovation. For example, moving a basement laundry room upstairs or to a shared location.

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