In the coming days and weeks, Council will be readdressing the issue of secondary suites in Calgary. A matter of great debate and has become quite politicized and is gaining momentum. Student groups, the Calgary Chamber of Commerce and even the Home Builders Association have put their support behind the easing of restrictions regarding secondary suites. Currently they are not permitted in R-1 (or variation) designated areas which accounts for most single family homes in the city and every individual application must be heard by the Council.
The lack of housing due to our very low rental vacancy rate has pushed this issue forward. First folks were displaced due to the floods of 2013, then followed a surge of new residents to our city as well as a booming real estate market. Many tenants in current property are facing pricing increases and new tenants are having trouble finding housing. Students returning to colleges and universities have faced a tough couple of years. The lack of options have pushed many to move to properties with illegal suites which may not meet building and safety requirements.
Should City Council ease restrictions to allow suites in previously restricted areas, owners and investors need to understand that this only changes the bylaw requirements. Any legal suites still need to meet safety and building code requirements to be legal suites. City of Calgary information on secondary suites.
The change in bylaw would basically allow an owner to make step 1 of the current process much easier. Details on the process on the City of Calgary website.