Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

My Book News & Advocate for the Writing Community ©

Alternative Living – Secondary Suites…

March 9, 2016

guest house

Secondary suites are known by a multitude of names – in-law suites, mother-in-law suite, granny flat, annex or accessory apartment. In other words, a self-contained living space for young or old, giving them independence but close by for assistance when required. The definition of a secondary suite is that it has its own entrance, kitchen, bathroom and living area. These spaces can also be used for rental income – either for the homeowners requiring extra income due to their own reduced income or for a single homeowner.

There are numerous adaptions to a single dwelling to create an annex. Suites can be over a garage, situated above or below the main floor of the main dwelling, or a guesthouse or garden suite. However, some suites, may not have all their amenities separate so share these with the main dwelling, such as kitchen or living room.

There are regulations concerning separate suites which vary from country to country and even state/province/county, so it is advisable to investigate what zoning or land use is permissible in your area before embarking on a plan for a suite.


Although many people think of these suites as an alternative to senior homes for their parents, they can be modified or used in other ways as explained above.Another use for a separate suite is a workplace for one or more employees. It keeps ‘work’ separate from home but with the benefit of no commute for the boss!


The expenditure to build or create a suite must be investigated properly to ensure that when the property is sold that expense is partially recouped.

The tiny house movement has given these annexes a new option too. Local authorities are beginning to see the benefit of extra housing spaces. Keep an eye on your area’s zoning criteria and make the best of it.

Have you encountered an in-law or rental suite? What were your thoughts on the pros and cons?

What would your perfect ‘annex’ consist of?




Leave a Reply

Required fields are marked *.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Blog at
%d bloggers like this: