Skip to content

Backyard suites now legal for some Esquimalt properties

One unit of up to 65 square metres now permitted for eligible residents
Numerous Esquimalt residents can now build a detached accessory suite of up to 65 square metres in their backyard. (Township of Esquimalt)

Carriage houses could soon start springing up around Esquimalt.

Residents living in RS-5, RS-6 and RD-4 zones can now build a one-storey Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit (DADU) of up to 65 square metres and 4.2 metres high in their backyard.

Owners must live in either the DADU or main house and may only use the units for long-term rentals. It cannot serve as a bed and breakfast and may only be built in the rear yard. Only one DADU is permitted per property. Waterfront lots and properties within 20 metres of the Gorge Waterway or 10 metres of Juan de Fuca Strait are not eligible.

RELATED READ: Esquimalt moves along path of legalizing detached suites

According to Township of Esquimalt communications manager Tara Zajac, Council first pursued legalizing carriage homes in 2018 and has received strong public support on the matter through surveys.

For zoning, RS-5 is for existing lots that meet criteria, RS-6 is for single family lots that meet criteria and RD-4 is for lots previously zoned for duplex that also meet criteria.

Guidelines concern local biodiversity and privacy for neighbouring properties. Residents considering a DADU are asked to preserve native trees, vegetation, rock outcrops and soil where possible, and green building designs are encouraged. Installing windows facing adjacent properties is discouraged and building roof decks and balconies is not permitted.

The DADU’s entrance must face and be visible from the street. One additional off-street parking stall is allowed. Stratification is not permitted.

Underground wiring to the DADU must be provided and BC Building, Plumbing, and Electrical Code regulations apply for residents.

ALSO READ: Spill in Sidney’s Reay Creek turns into ecological lesson for local children

Eligible residents interested in building a DADU on their property must submit a development permit and certificate of entitlement.

For more information on guidelines, visit

Do you have a story tip? Email:

Follow us on Twitter and Instagram, and like us on Facebook.