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Secondary suites are self-contained dwellings that are typically located in the basement of a home. Secondary suites provide a form of residential intensification that is sometimes referred to as “invisible density” because they do not change the exterior appearance of the building in which they are located.
The Zoning Bylaw currently restricts secondary suites to single detached homes on lots over 360 square metres in size.  In June 2016, City Council passed a motion directing Administration to explore options for allowing secondary suites in other types of housing, such as semi-detached and row housing, as way of increasing housing choices for Edmontonians. 

What We’re Thinking 

Based on our analysis and feedback from Edmontonians, we think allowing more opportunities for secondary suites will have minimal impact to our neighbourhoods, but will have a big positive impact for individuals by making homes more affordable and providing more housing choices for Edmontonians. Read more about what we've learned, and what we plan to recommend, on the project's public engagement page.

Project Stage

This project is currently at the proposed amendment stage.

Following the motion from City Council, Administration conducted a range of research and public engagement. This resulted in a series of proposed amendments to increase opportunities for secondary suites in Edmonton.

A report and draft amendments were reviewed by Urban Planning Committee on April 17, 2018 (Item 6.4). City staff will present the amendments to City Council for a decision at the August 20, 2018 Public Hearing meeting.

If approved by Council, the proposed amendments will: 

  • Allow secondary suites in semi-detached and duplex housing wherever these housing forms are allowed
  • Allow secondary suites in row housing wherever these housing forms are allowed
  • Remove the minimum lot size requirement for secondary suites, creating opportunities for secondary suites on narrow or smaller lots across the city
  • Adjust maximum floor area for secondary suites built above grade, or partially above grade to increase flexibility in interior layout

Public Engagement

The City of Edmonton is committed to citizen engagement.

City staff conducted an online survey in June 2017. Over 1,700 responses were received. The Insight Community survey results are explained in our public engagement page.

City staff will also be looking for your input on site area requirements, which relates to allowing secondary suites in narrow lot (or skinny) houses, and your perspectives on suites in row housing.

View the Public Engagement history, activities, and reports.

For More Information

Jeff Booth

Title Planner, Zoning Bylaw



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