Crackdown on Secondary Suites in Clayton Homes: Options for Owners, Landlords, and Renters [UPDATED]

Posted by Robbie Johal on Thursday, October 12th, 2017 at 5:20pm

Clayton secondary suites crackdown

UPDATED (December 5th, 2017): After putting the plan to crackdown on illegal secondary suites in Clayton on hold in October, the City of Surrey has now decided to suspend the crackdown for up to a year and potentially legalize the suites. The city says a new compliance program for secondary suites will be created.

Learn more about the Clayton real estate market

If you live in Surrey's Clayton area or follow the Clayton Heights real estate market in any way, you've almost certainly heard about the City of Surrey's recent crackdown on secondary suites in Clayton in order to free up residential parking space. According to current bylaws, single-family homes in Clayton are not allowed to contain more than one secondary suite and, starting in February of 2018, those not in compliance will be forced to pay hefty fines. Specifically, the city has sent letters to 175 Clayton homeowners ordering them to remove their secondary suites.

It's a decision that will financially impact hundreds of renters in Clayton, not to mention the owners/landlords will lose the extra income coming in every month. However, there are alternative options to help ease the potential hardship. There are also ways to have your voice heard, regardless of whether or not you agree with the city's decision. Below, you'll find options and resources for both renters of secondary suites and home owners in Clayton Heights.

Clayton Heights Renters

Whether you're among those currently renting the secondary suites that are set for removal or you're a renter who is frustrated by the potential of a rental market that already has a low vacancy rate shrinking even more, the loss of these suites is going to hurt. Adding to the stress is the fact that the suites that are set for removal were among the most affordable rental options in Clayton Heights.

Row of Clayton Heights homesHowever, there is still a light at the end of the tunnel for current renters who would prefer to stay in one of the safest, most walkable, and most family-friendly neighbourhoods in the entire Surrey real estate market. There is still a decent selection of affordable coach homes and other types of secondary suites in Clayton that are available. Remember, Clayton homeowners are still allowed to rent out one suite per property and there is a good chance that some owners of homes without any secondary suites may see the increase in renters looking for a place to live as an opportunity to turn their basements into a suite. In fact, Surrey Council has stated that there are already about 500 legal secondary suites set to be built in the next six months.

As an owner of multiple coach homes and an experienced Clayton REALTOR®, I have helped many local buyers with advice on secondary suites over the years. I have also assisted more residents in buying and selling coach homes in Clayton than any other REALTOR® and I'm always available to help future buyers with any questions regarding secondary suites.

The city has also claimed numerous times that more rental housing in Clayton is on the way, but an alternative option for some renters might be to use this latest setback as motivation to finally become a homebuyer. For some, it might seem like a daunting task and an option that simply isn't affordable, but consider that your monthly mortgage payments could be much less than your rental costs. At the very least, it's worth exploring your financial options. Experienced REALTORS® such as myself can provide information and point you in the right direction when it comes to financing. I also have a blog on how to pay off your mortgage faster. Clayton is a wonderful neighbourhood to raise a family and if you're among the renters plan on living here for the long haul, you should seriously think about buying. Whether it's a condo, townhome, or single-family home, I have helped many first-time buyers in Clayton, so please contact me if you'd like more information.

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Clayton Owners and Landlords

If you're a Clayton homeowner who has always considered the idea of renting out a basement or ground-level suite in their house, but never actually done it, now is the time to put those thoughts into action and help your community. It's a win-win situation because you'll be creating an additional living space at a time when an increased amount of renters will be looking affordable places to live and you'll be earning extra money in the process!

For those who are among the owners who are being forced to remove one of their suites by the City of Surrey, there are a few things you need to do before calling the city for an inspection:

  • Remove stove(s)
  • Remove hood fan
  • Disconnect outlets for stove(s) and then cover them with drywall
  • Remove the breaker associated with any stove from your electrical panel

Links and Resources

Whatever side of the fence you're on with when it comes to the debate over legalizing all secondary suites in Clayton homes, something needs to be done to solve the parking space issues on residential streets. I personally believe that a permit parking system should exist.

Here are some resources for any Clayton Heights resident with an opinion of the issue multiple secondary suites in Clayton homes:

  • If you'd like to sign a petition against the City of Surrey's decision to crackdown on homes with multiple secondary suites, click here.
  • If you support the city's decision and want to eliminate these suites, click here.
  • To learn more about secondary suites in Surrey and how to apply for a legal suite, visit this page.
  • For anyone who owns a secondary suite in Clayton that would like to discuss the issues, join the Clayton Landlords Facebook group.

Additional Facebook groups for Clayton residents:

Contact Robbie Johal for more information about this issue or for any type of information related to Clayton real estate.

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