• Phase 1a approved by Council

    On September 18, the City of Burnaby will begin accepting applications for laneway homes and secondary suites in semi-detached homes. More information below.

About the project

This project is about introducing more types of housing to Burnaby’s neighbourhoods.

The Housing Choices program will consider a range of housing forms that allow more units in residential neighbourhoods such as laneway homes, triplexes, fourplexes, rowhomes and other small-scale housing types. These housing forms are sometimes referred to as the “missing middle” as they are missing, or in short supply, in many North American communities.


The Housing Choices program is being introduced in phases.

  • Phase 1a:
    • Laneway homes and suites in semi-detached homes (“suites in semis”) on properties with lanes
  • Phase 1b:
    • Laneway homes and suites in semis on properties without lanes
    • Other forms of housing with 3 or 4 units on single- and two-family lots
  • Phase 2:
    • High density forms of missing middle housing, in conjunction with the Official Community Plan update
Types of housing choices from detached home to high-rise apartment with everything in between

Questions and answers

View questions and answers. Answers are updated as more information becomes available.

What's happening now?

Implementation of Phase 1a

The first of our Housing Choices are here! On September 18, the City will begin accepting applications for laneway homes and secondary suites in semi-detached homes.

Find out more

Visit our laneway homes and secondary suites pages to view our new how-to guides and updated information on how to plan and build a new suite or laneway home.

Phase 1b launches with online survey

As part of Phase 1b, we’re looking to expand the regulations for laneway homes and suites in semi-detached homes to properties that don’t have lanes. We’ll also be exploring options for adding 3 or 4 units to all single- and two-family properties in Burnaby. These may include homes with 2 suites, triplexes, fourplexes and cottage courts (small detached units around a central courtyard).

Thank you to all who shared their voice with us. We're now reviewing the results of our recently completed survey.

Stay informed on this project

Keep up to date with the latest developments and be the first to know when new events are planned.

About laneway homes and suites in semis

Diagram of laneway home (small home separate from main residence) and suites in semi detached home (suite at bottom of townhome with separate door)

What is missing middle housing?

Missing middle housing is lower-density, multi-unit housing that bridges the gap between single-family homes and mid- and high-rise apartment buildings. Missing middle housing adds to the diversity of ground-level housing options for residents and can provide family-friendly dwellings that are more affordable than single-family homes. These can include duplexes, triplexes, fourplexes, rowhomes, townhomes and cottage courts on single- and two-family lots.

What are laneway homes?

Laneway homes are smaller homes built in the backyard of a main house, facing the lane. Laneway homes can provide additional space for families, or serve as a new source of rental housing—while also providing income for the homeowner.

What are “suites in semis”?

“Suites in semis” are secondary suites in semi-detached homes. Semi-detached homes are residences with two units located side-by-side. A semi-detached home may have two secondary suites, one in each unit. The BC Building Code does not permit secondary suites in stacked duplexes.