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.
Please note, all suites require a building permit. Please review the Fees section on our legalize an existing secondary suite, adding a new suite or building a backyard suite pages in order to estimate your building permit fees.
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.
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.
Legalize an existing suite
Make your existing suite legal and registered. Review the requirements and learn how to apply.
Add a secondary suite
Review the rules and requirements for basement suites on your property, and learn how to apply.
Build a backyard suite
Review the rules and requirements for backyard suites, and learn how to apply.
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.
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.
The City of Calgary requires the assignment of a separate address for secondary suites to supplement the basic address of the main dwelling. The identifier for the secondary suite may be alphabetical or numeric. Suite numbers are shown at the start of the address for the following purposes:
Emergency response and wayfinding
If an emergency event occurs in the secondary suite, every second counts and a precise location will assist the emergency responders to locate the suite.
Current and future utility hookups
Utility hookups require the exact suite address where the utilities will be hooked up and for the utility bill to be sent.
Applications for future business licences
A requirement of a business licence is to have the exact suite address to where the business will be operating. Although there might not be a business operating out of the secondary suite at this time, an address will still be created to enable a business to be licenced at the suite when needed.
Applications for future short-term rentals
Although the secondary suite might not be used as a short-term rental at this time, a new address will still be created to enable a suite to be licenced for a short-term rental when needed. The licence requires the exact suite address and not the main dwelling address.
Canada post and other mail delivery services
Although not a City of Calgary requirement, having a separate address for the secondary suite will assist in the delivery of mail to the correct dwelling unit.