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Answers to frequently asked questions about the City's secondary suite regulations. 

Development and Building Permits

Are there size, height and parking requirements for secondary suites?

Yes, there are restrictions on secondary and garden suites. The regulations, including parking requirements, can be read in the Zoning Bylaw.

With the exception of some speciality zones, secondary suite regulations apply.

What other zoning regulations are applicable to secondary suites?

Additional zoning regulations can be read in the Zoning Bylaw.

Part 1 - General Development Regulations 
Section 54 - Parking (Sections 54.2 and 54.2 Schedule 1)

Part 2 - Special Land Use Provision 
Section 86 - Secondary Suites

How do I know if my house already has permits for existing secondary suites?

The Secondary Suites Registry map lists the locations of all secondary suites within Edmonton. These secondary suites have acquired development and building permits and have been inspected to meet Alberta Safety Code and Fire Code requirements. This map will be updated as the City approves new secondary suites. 

What is the purpose of the registry?

The registry is a search tool that allows Edmontonians to identify safe secondary suites in Edmonton. These suites have obtained necessary permits and been inspected to meet Alberta’s safety code requirements.

Will adding a secondary suite affect my taxes?

Property assessments are based on market value. Renovating a home to create an additional living unit will increase the assessed market value of the home and the taxes. The amount of increase depends on the extent of the renovation. 

Secondary suite rental revenue must also be declared as income to the Canada Revenue Agency. 

Fire Prevention and Regulations

How does the Alberta Building Code and Alberta Fire Code affect secondary suites?

All proposals for new or existing suites must conform to the Zoning Bylaw and the Alberta Building Code and Fire Code.

The Building Code applies in the following situations:

  • A new dwelling unit with a secondary suite included at the time of construction 
  • An existing dwelling unit with an unfinished space being converted to a secondary suite  
  • An existing dwelling unit with a finished space being converted to a secondary suite

For questions on Building Code requirements, please call 311 (within Edmonton) or 780-442-5311 (outside of Edmonton) and ask for a Building Technical Advisor.

The Fire Code applies to all secondary or garden suites in existence before December 31, 2006. Those existing before December 31, 2006 must be upgraded to meet the Alberta Fire Code. Those built after December 31, 2006 must be upgraded to meet Building Code.

For questions on Fire Code inquiries on existing secondary suites call Fire Prevention at 780-496-3628 or visit the Fire Prevention Secondary Suites page.

For online information on Building and Fire Code amendments please visit the Alberta Municipal Affairs website.

If I have a basement suite is it mandatory to upgrade it to meet current Fire and Building Code regulations for secondary suites?

If a homeowner has a secondary suite that was in existence prior to December 31, 2006 they are required to upgrade their suite to meet the 2014 Alberta Fire Code.

What do fire inspectors look for in terms of safety?

Primary considerations relate to ensuring fire prevention and protection in terms of smoke alarms, exit routes, fire separation and structural requirements like minimum ceiling height and window sizes.

Compliance and Enforcement

What happens if I don’t get a permit for my secondary or garden suite?

Any suites that are investigated by the City and found to not have a valid development permit in place are subject to an initial fine of $1000, with subsequent fines for ongoing offences up to $2500. You will then be required to either decommission your suite or apply for permits.

Any existing suites without permits that are subject to enforcement proceedings will be charged double the development permit application fees. Anyone with an existing suite, without permits, that comes forward voluntarily to receive permits will not be charged a double development permit fee.

What is the City doing to address complaints about secondary suites?

If the City receives a complaint about an illegal suite, it will investigate the complaint and if an unpermitted suite is confirmed, the homeowner will be advised of the options: upgrade or decommission the suite.

For More Information

Development and Building Permits
2nd floor, Edmonton Tower
10111 - 104 Avenue NW
Edmonton AB T5J 0J4

Telephone

In Edmonton: 311
Outside Edmonton: 780-442-5311

TTY 780-944-5555
Email developmentservices@edmonton.ca

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