Secondary Suites Permit is About to Help Housing

photo by thelastminute
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Online Photography School

Mayor Naheed Nenshi has recently spoken out in favour of the legalization of secondary suites across all residential neighbourhoods in Calgary. The Calgary Real Estate Board (CREB) reacted immediately. CREB requests this change from the Calgary city council with the conditions that the properties remain occupied by the owner and safety and parking concerns are met. Sano Sante, CREB’s president, explained: “Housing affordability and choice will be big contributors to Calgarians’ quality of life in the years to come and secondary suites have a role to play in this.”

CREB’s affordable housing task force has been fighting with the strict rules concerning secondary suites since the term of the previous city council. According to CREB, Calgary was unable to cope with the demand for affordable rental units from people looking to relocate to Calgary during the boom.

Currently, secondary suites are only permitted in select land use districts and only as a discretionary use in the R-2 district in both developed and developing areas. As a result of this law, secondary suites are not allowed to be developed on R-1 without a formal land redesignation. However, there are estimated thousands of secondary suites in Calgary that violate the current land use bylaw. The task force hopes to pass the legalization of secondary suites in all of Calgary’s neighbourhoods soon. One incentive for this change is to help more land owners get the secondary suite grant from the City of Calgary. This grant started in April 2009 with the Secondary Suite Grant Program and offers $25,000 or a coverage of up to 70 per cent of the costs to people developing or upgrading a legal secondary suite.

Stante points out that secondary suites can help young families realize their home-ownership goals sooner if they have additional rental income, and can also help seniors to remain longer in their homes by providing accommodation for nursing aids and caretakers. The issue is expected to go to the city council in March, after the city’s administration submits a report on secondary suites.

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3 Responses to Secondary Suites Permit is About to Help Housing

  1. J. Coelho says:

    I agree, secondary suites should be allowed in all neighbourhoods for the reasons that you stated, ie, available home ownership to families who would not be able to afford home ownership without extra income and also to meet senior’s needs, who are mostly on a fixed income. This would keep the costs down for assisted living etc ,which seniors initially move to due to costs of property taxes etc and costs of home and property maintenance. C algary should get with it ,like every other major city and town in Canada.

  2. Crystal Tost says:

    There are some positives and negatives to secondary suites. I am not sure that they would be welcome in some of Calgary’s “more upper” end neighborhoods.

  3. Duncan says:

    Hello there,

    Thank you for using my photograph in this post!


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