As you may be aware the City of Calgary is requiring all secondary suites to be on the City’s suites registry by December 31st, 2021. More info from the city here

The registry aims to build awareness with Calgarians about the importance of public safety, and the safety features of a legal secondary suite. Suites that have been inspected by The City and meet the requirements under Alberta’s safety codes provide the necessary measures to help protect lives.

If you would like to consider adding a secondary suite to your existing property, we can help you with completing that process.

If you have an existing secondary suite that is not a completely legalized suite or if you have a basement that has both a bathroom and cooking facilities, you must register the unit as a secondary suite with the City of Calgary suite registry. Now is the time to start planning for December 2021. The City of Calgary is waiving fees, an approximately $900.00 savings, for the development permits and registry for all secondary suites until December 2021. As of January 1, 2022, The City of Calgary will be reinstating these fees and all secondary suites must be on the suite registry.

What makes a basement suite legal in Calgary?
In Calgary, most suites are in basements. In order to be classified as a “secondary suite,” the living space must have its own sleeping, kitchen, living and bathroom areas. They may also include shared areas such as a backyard, parking spaces, laundry and storage areas. Parking spaces do not include the road, they must have some where dedicated to park off-street, such as a garage, driveway, or parking pad.

There are a few items that are important to look at to make your existing secondary suites legal.

Bedroom Window
There must be at least one window in each bedroom that you can open from the inside, without the use of any special tools or keys. The window needs to be no less than 0.35 square meters (3.8 sq. ft) in size. The window should be accessible, unobstructed, and large enough so that anyone can fit through it in the event of an emergency. If the window has any type of security bars, they should be operable from the inside, without having to use any special tools or keys.

Smoke Detectors/Carbon Monoxide Detectors
Each suite, both upper and lower, must have smoke detectors and carbon monoxide detectors that are connected. Each bedroom and all common areas must also have working smoke alarms and carbon monoxide detectors that are hardwired with each other. This is required so that if any one alarm goes off, all the alarms in both suites goes off. Both landlord and tenants should be testing these alarms on a regular basis to ensure that they are maintained according to the manufacturer’s instructions and replaced as required.

Fire Protection in the Furnace room
Fire coded drywall is required to be installed into the furnace room. This drywall must be smoke tight on walls and ceiling and must have a door, which is added protection for the tenants and property. Also, the furnace room is not allowed to be used as a storage room for flammable goods around the furnace or hot water tank.

Both suites must have their own direct exits to the outdoors. This requirement is an essential safety feature to provide a primary means of evacuating the tenants from the basement suites in the event of a fire or another emergency. It is acceptable to have an exit from a basement suite with stairs leading from the basement to the main floor with a doorway leading directly to the outside.

Changes in Code.
Code can change often, and hiring contractors who are familiar with the changes in the Code is the best way to get things done right the first time and to meet the legal requirements, rather than having to get them fixed later down the road. Westhawk is proud to have great contractors that have been with us for 10+ years and carry a wealth of knowledge

We would be happy to assist you in moving forward in this process. If you would like to discuss how this affects you and your property, please feel free to contact me at the office. If you know anyone that would benefit from this information, please feel free to forward them this link to our blog here:

The Westhawk Property Management team of professionals are here to help you build wealth through real estate investing. We will free you up to pursue your career, spend time with your families and your other important interests while saving you costs and frustration.

Call us today to discuss how we can be of service to you.

Westhawk Property Management
Office: 403-319-0701
Fax: 403-319-0704
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