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Adding a Secondary Suite!

Posted by Rachel R. Vanderveen on Tuesday, January 15th, 2013 at 4:32pm.

Adding a Secondary Suite!

Adding a Secondary SuiteCalgary's real estate market is continuing to boom but as supply starts to decrease, demand is remaining constant. On average, a house in Calgary is $427,000 which is a 2.9% increase from 2011. This is great news for sellers but what can buyers do to offset the high cost that comes with being a homeowner? Many Calgarians are considering adding a secondary suite. The problem is that the city has very specific requirements for people looking to do this and City Hall's estimates show that there are currently between 50,000 and 80,000 illegal suites in Calgary. It's important to educate yourself before taking the plunge.

  1. Make sure that your home's zoning code allows secondary suites. It must have the R-1s, R-C1s, RC1Ls, R-2, R-C2, R-2M, or M-CG designation.
  2. Homeowners are allowed to charge a maximum of $810 per month for a one-bedroom secondary suite.
  3. A secondary suite can't exceed 750 square feet and bedroom windows must have an openable area of 0.35 square meters.
  4. The suite must have its own separate entrance, be heated, and have a kitchen and bathroom. It shouldn't have access to the main family home. A suite can only be added in a detached single-family home, not within a duplex or otherwise.
  5. If your home is in a district zoned as R-1, R-C1, or R-C1L, a secondary suite isn't allowed. You can apply for a Land Use Amendment, though it is expensive to do so and doesn't always guarantee the result you're looking for.

It is important to get verification if you're unsure about any of the processes or legalities surrounding adding a secondary suite to your home. The City of Calgary has launched a pilot project wherein city and fire officials will be randomly inspecting secondary suites to ensure legality. Don't rent out an illegal suite!


Rachel Vanderveen

The Vanderveen Team
Maxwell South Star Realty
Phone: 403.253.5678 Fax: 403.592.6736

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