Secondary suites and backyard suites
What is a secondary suite?
A self-contained residence with two or more rooms and includes a kitchen, living, sleeping and sanitary facilities.
All suites must have:
- Bedrooms with proper egress windows
- A separate bathroom
- Separate cooking facilities
- An entrance that is accessible from outside without passing through the main dwelling unit. A shared stairwell is acceptable, but each unit must have a private entrance.
What is the difference between a secondary suite and a backyard suite?
A secondary suite is a self-contained residence, located within a main residence. This can be located on any floor within the home, like the basement, main floor or upper floor.
A backyard suite is a self-contained residence that is detached from the main residence. This includes garage suites, garden suites or laneway homes.
What is the difference between legalizing and adding a secondary suite?
A suite may be considered existing and need to be legalized if all of the below are true:
- The suite includes a bathroom, cooking facilities and sleeping/living facilities.
- The suite is accessible from outside without passing through the main dwelling unit. (A shared stairwell is acceptable but each unit must have a private entrance.)
- The suite was built prior to March 12, 2018.
- The suite is located in the same building as the main residence and not a detached garage.
If all of these requirements are not met the suite will be considered new. See add a secondary suite for more details.
If there is more than one suite on the property or in the building, Contact the Planning Services Centre for further assistance
A building permit is required for all secondary suites, regardless of when they were constructed.
January 24, 2023
Developing a Safe and Legal Secondary Suite
Watch our recorded Q&A on everything you need to know about developing a secondary suite in Calgary.
Hear from Development, Business & Building Services they discuss permits, fees, and how to make your suite legal and safe.