Where Did Secondary Suites Go?

Secondary Suites are second smaller residential units allowed within single-family dwellings in all Ucluelet's residential zones. Secondary suites historically provided a vital long-term rental option to ensure Ucluelet’s residents and workers who are not property owners have somewhere to live. Many of Ucluelet’s residents got started in the community living in a secondary suite. The recent growth of B&Bs in residential zones has contributed to the significant reduction in the number of secondary suites in Ucluelet in two key ways:

1. The District of Ucluelet has noted a strong trend over the past few years of conversion and decommissioning existing secondary suites into short-term B&B rentals. What were stable secondary suites in the community are increasingly removed from the long-term rental market in favor of a more lucrative B&B use. This is a critical loss to what was an important housing option for lower income workers, young families starting out, and elderly residents on fixed incomes.

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Source: BC Assessment and District of Ucluelet Business Licence Data

2. In the past, many building plans for new residential dwellings in Ucluelet included a secondary suite option to rent long-term as a “mortgage helper”. Increasingly, however, property owners looking to build in Ucluelet are opting to build more lucrative STR uses into their building plans, with new Ucluelet residential builds increasingly including up to three self-contained B&B units rather than secondary suite uses. This means that secondary suites are being displaced by B&B units in existing properties, and likewise are not getting replaced in new residential builds. From 2020 to 2022, over three times more B&B units were created in new residential construction than secondary suites.

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Source: District of Ucluelet Building Permits (The number of secondary suites may be reduced due to conversion to B&B use).