The City of Calgary defines a self-contained dwelling unit that has separate living, cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities as a Secondary Suite if the unit is within the main residence, and a Backyard Suite if the unit is in a detached building. A permit process is required to develop a new suite or legalize an existing suite. These suites are only allowed within certain land use districts. Each district has different rules and requirements. You can determine if your property is eligible by entering your address here in the property information tool.
Suites that existed before 1970 are not required to meet the rules for that district, if the suite had no structural changes, and if the suite was never discontinued for a period of greater than six months. After 1970, suites developed are considered illegal unless they have the necessary approvals.
All such suites require a building permit to ensure safety requirements are met. Development permits are only required if such a suite is listed as a discretionary use in that district, or if bylaws are not met in a district where the use is permitted. The City may grant a relaxation where a bylaw is not met. City Council has approved a development permit exemption for secondary suites until March 3, 2017.
Please contact us if you have any questions about secondary suites.