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Secondary suites and backyard suites

Secondary suites and backyard suites

We’re waiving up to $900 in fees until December 31, 2021​

The City of Calgary is waiving the fees for the development permit and secondary suite registry for all secondary and backyard suites until December 31, 2021.

What is changing for suites in 2022?

All secondary and backyard suites must be on our suite registry​ by December 31, 2021​. In January 2022, we will reinstate fees for the development permit and suite registry.


New suites vs. existing suites

All secondary suites built after March 2018 must comply with the National Building Code - 2019 Alberta Edition. The most notable requirement is a second heating source, like a furnace, for each unit. Please visit add a secondary suite for requirements.

If your suite was built before March 2018, visit legalize an existing suite for requirements.

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What is the difference between a secondary suite and a backyard suite?

A secondary suite is a dwelling unit contained within the main residence, such as a basement or in-law suite. A backyard suite is a dwelling unit in a building that is detached from the main residence, such as a garage suite, garden suite or laneway home.

Suite registry FAQ

What is the secondary suite registry?

The secondary suite registry is an online, searchable list identifying legal and safe secondary suites in Calgary. These suites have been registered and inspected to meet Alberta’s safety code requirements. View the suite registry bylaw and go to secondarysuites.calgary.ca to view the registry.

What is the goal of the registry?

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.

What are the advantages of the registry and sticker for owners?

Registered secondary suites are listed on The City’s website and receive a numbered sticker that can be posted at the main entrance of the suite. Owners can use the registry and sticker as a means to promote their suite to current and future residents.

Is there a cost to be on the registry?

Not currently, however, in January 2022, we will reinstate fees for the suite registry. The registry program is intended to promote the importance of safe secondary suites for Calgarians.

How do I get a secondary suite sticker for my suite?

Please note it will take two to three weeks after the final inspection to receive your sticker in the mail.

Where do I place the sticker on my property?

We recommend placing the stickers on the entry point of the suite. This informs current and future residents that suite is part of The City’s registry program.

If the property is sold, does the registry transfer to the new owner?

Yes. The registry is connected to the address containing the legal and safe secondary suite.

How long is the sticker valid for?

There is no expiry date.

Can I make modifications to my secondary suite after the building permit is approved?

Any changes to your secondary suite could require additional permits and inspections. To ensure modifications meet the requirements of Alberta’s safety codes and do not alter the safety features of your suite, contact The City’s Planning Services Centre at 403-268-5311 for assistance.

What penalties might I face for owning an unsafe suite?

Safety is always top priority for The City. Our inspectors work collaboratively with secondary suite owners, and we determine appropriate timelines to complete work. However, if owners of illegal suites do not comply with minimum safety standards, we may take legal action.

Can I be removed from the registry?

The City investigates all complaints, should your secondary suite be found to no longer comply with Alberta’s safety codes, your suite will be removed from the registry.​

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