Interested in buying or selling a property with a basement suite in Calgary? It is important to know if the suite is considered legal or illegal. To confirm if the suite is legal, it must be registered at the City of Calgary’s website, the Secondary Suite Registry.
If the basement suite is not registered at the City of Calgary, and it is considered illegal, the questions are:
How easy is it to legalize the basement suite?
What is the potential cost to legalize the basement suite?
What makes a secondary suite legal?
In short, a legal basement suite, more often described as a secondary suite, is considered a self-contained living space consisting of a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen, located within or on the same property as a single-family home.
For a basement suite to be legal in Calgary, it needs to meet several criteria. The most common requirements for a legal secondary basement suite include (but are not limited to):
- certain ceiling heights,
- a separate entrance,
- egress windows, including one window that can be opened to escape,
- interconnected smoke alarms,
- independent heating and ventilation system, which can be baseboard heating,
- proper placement and location of gas fired furnaces, water heaters and electrical panels,
Is it a new or existing secondary suite?
The City of Calgary applies slightly different rules for existing secondary suites versus new secondary suites. This difference is set by date, March 12, 2018. Before this date, the rules for existing suites apply, while after this date the rules for new secondary suites apply.
The City of Calgary currently waives all fees for the development permit and the registration. This offer is valid until December 31, 2023. Just one more reason to start the process of legalizing!
Why legalize a basement suite?
Investing in a legal secondary suite is most often worth it.
- Use it as a mortgage helper on your personal home.
- Or for investment purposes as a landlord to rent both up and down.
- Perhaps it is to help your mother-in-law by having her nearby for help.
- Or for the live-in-nanny
- But also consider the safety aspect, once the City of Calgary approved the suite!