Secondary Suites

A secondary suite is a self-contained living space in a single family home or on its lot, e.g., basement suite, garage apartment.

Efforts to bring suites up to standard have included enforcement, a grant program, and a pilot program to make suites safe and legal.

Most Calgarians favor more secondary suites and legalization of existing suites. Many are only somewhat supportive. Concerns include parking, number of suites in an area, and absentee landlords (Secondary Suites Workshops, 2010, and Survey Research, 2011).

For most land use districts adding a secondary suite requires development and building permits. In districts where most single-family homes are (R-1/R-C1/R-C1L), a land use amendment is also required. Amending land use can be a long process including a public hearing before City Council.

Debate has focused on whether the land use amendment requirement should be removed. Various ideas have been advanced including:

  • Retaining the land use amendment requirement
  • Removing the requirement
  • Removing the requirement near universities, around C-Train stations, along major road corridors