A secondary suite could be a basement suite, laneway house, or other unit that is on the same property as a residential house. Generally speaking, the Residential Tenancy Act applies to secondary suites – even illegal ones.
If a secondary suite does not comply with zoning and bylaw requirements, or has not been registered with the City, it may be considered an “illegal suite”. The most important thing to remember about illegal suites is that they are covered by the Residential Tenancy Act. That being said, it is not ideal to be living in one, as your housing could be at risk if your City finds out about the suite. This can sometimes happen if a dispute with a neighbour turns into a complaint to the City, or if you go to the City seeking help with repair or maintenance concerns.
When a City discovers an illegal suite, they may decide to shut it down. If this is the case, you will be given a One Month Eviction Notice for Cause under section 47(1)(k) of the RTA and your landlord will most likely not be responsible for paying any of your moving expenses. See RTB Policy Guideline 20 for more information.