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Build and legalize your basement suite

October 28, 2015   /   Real-EstateSecondary Suite 

Building more rental suites is a great solution to increase density of existing neighborhoods and to add rental units in a very limited rental market. In order to encourage home owners to build and legalize their basement suite, the City of Calgary has introduced a series of measure to reduce cost and eliminate red tapes along the process. You can read our blogs on secondary suite for more information. Although the process is currently simplified there is still a number of steps to take to successfully legalize a basement suite. Here are 3 main steps that you must be aware of. Some of the steps are with the City of Calgary and some of the steps are under your responsibility.

Step 1 Ensure that you have proper zoning / land use

Without going through the explanation of what is zoning, I would simply indicate that all properties in the City of Calgary are identified under a specific land use district. Not all land use district allow the use “Secondary Suite”. You can visit the City of Calgary website my property and enter your address, the interactive map will provide you the zoning for your property. You can them visit the city website and review the zoning bylaw an ensure that Secondary Suite is an allowable use.

Step 2 Do you meet the land use / zoning bylaw rules

Before you move forward, you need to know if you meet the minimum standards of the land use / zoning bylaw. Each land use / zoning district has specific rules but here are 3 fundamental questions you want to answer properly before moving forward:

Do you have 2 parking stalls on site? (street parking does not count)

What is the total width of your property?  (some district require 15 metres minimum some are 11 metres or less)

What is the total size of your basement suite? (zone district have maximum)

Step 3 building permit

If you have been successful with the first 3 steps and meet the requirement for the Development Permit waiver, you can go ahead with the building permit. Here are 5 things to keep in mind when you are designing your basement suite.

You need an independent access or a common access to the basement suite

You need independent heating system

The electrical panel must be accessible in a common area or two panels are required

All bedroom must have a window that meets the egress requirements (generally 3.8 square feet of opening)

You need a share laundry or independent laundry areas.

Of course this is not an exhaustive list but it should give you a good start in the planning of your basement suite. You contact us at 403-475-2044 of any questions or assistance.

Read More:  Secondary Suite Registry – Development Permit waived for Secondary Suites