Square One finds that 15% of secondary rental suites in Canada are illegal

August 2, 2017

(Vancouver, BC): Square One Insurance Services recently surveyed over 5,500 house owners in British Columbia, Alberta, and Ontario. The survey revealed that 11% of all house owners rent out a portion of their home to non-family members. Alberta had the highest percentage at 14%, followed by British Columbia at 13% and Ontario at 9%.

“We wanted to conduct this survey for two reasons,” says Daniel Mirkovic, Square One’s President. “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.”

According to the survey, the top three reasons why house owners have rental suites are:

While mortgage-helpers are well, helpful, there are many municipal regulations that house owners need to be aware of. For example, Vancouver and Toronto have capped the number of rental suites allowed per single-family house to just one. Other regulations, which vary by municipality, usually include: zoning restrictions; building code compliance; unit size restrictions; minimum parking requirements; and, inspection and licensing compliance

Square One’s survey found that 17% of rental suites in detached houses are considered illegal. Ontario has the highest percentage at 21%, followed by British Columbia at 15%, and Alberta at 14%. The actual percentage is likely to be considerably higher as residents may be reluctant to disclose illegal rental suites.

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 “But some, like the one rental suite per single-family house, are just outdated. It’s hard to understand why cities advocating for more affordable housing options would continue to enforce this outdated regulation.”

According to the Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation, Ontario has more than 233,000 secondary rental units, British Columbia more than 155,000, and Alberta more than 125,000. Secondary rental units tend to be more affordable than apartment suites. For example, the average cost in Metro Vancouver of a 2-bedroom secondary suite is $1,390/month, while a 2-bedroom apartment suite is $1,450/month.

If you’re a house owner with a secondary rental suite, then it’s important to stay informed and to have the right insurance coverage in place. To learn more, speak with your insurance provider or call Square One at 1.855.331.6933.


Established in 2011, Square One offers the only home insurance policy in North America that can be personalized to your unique needs. That means you only pay for the protection you need. Square One is also one of the few providers to automatically include water backup and broad water protection in its policies. Square One currently serves British Columbia, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, and Ontario. For more information about Square One, or to get an online quote, visit www.squareone.ca. For more information on this release, please contact:

Aneel Mattu
Square One Insurance Services Inc.
Tel: 1.855.331.6933 ext 127
Cel: 1.778.919.2096