Help Us Ask City Council to Support Secondary Suite Reform

On Monday, March 12 2018, Calgary City Council will be holding a public hearing on proposed amendments to the land use by-law to include secondary suites as discretionary use within R-1, R-C1, and R-C1L land use districts.

It's as important as ever for Calgarians to let City Council know that they support effective reform of the secondary suites process.

We are urging Council to ensure that the secondary suite reforms do not add red tape, taxes or fees that would: (1) penalize the homeowners who develop affordable, safe and legal suites; and, (2) incentivize more illegal suites.


In response to Administration’s proposals for secondary suite process reform, here's what we're asking City Council:


We recommend that secondary suites ultimately be a permitted use in R-1, R-C1 and R-C1L districts districts city-wide, but discretionary use a good first step.

Secondary Suites are already a permitted use in other districts in Calgary and most residential areas in Edmonton. This process is effective and minimizes red tape. However, discretionary use is a reasonable improvement from the current process in R-1, R-C1 and R-C1L districts since it eliminates the time-consuming and unnecessary practice of Council approving individual suite applications.


We oppose increasing application fees to $471 for secondary suites

Civic leaders stress that secondary suites as a safe and market-driven solution for the crucial need for more affordable housing in Calgary, particularly during the current downturn. In comparison, the City must spend hundreds of thousands of dollars in order to develop a single unit of affordable house. An unaffordable application fee increase of $471 would only incent the development of more illegal suites.


We oppose increasing red tape, including requiring mandatory registration 

Mandatory registration and fees would only serve as a disincentive for homeowners to apply for legal suites. The mandatory registry and associated fees are particularly absurd given that no such City requirements apply to a homeowner renting an entire house. However, if the homeowner rents out the same house with two suites he or she must register both suites and pay almost $1,000 in fees to the City. Administration has failed to justify why a secondary suite registry is required or provide any evidence in its report that mandatory registries are a best practice from other jurisdictions.


More housing is needed now in order for Calgary’s economy to thrive and to compete for world-class talent. All other major Canadian municipalities permit secondary suites in all residential neighbourhoods.


Here's how you can help:


1. Email City Council 

Ask City Council to support meaningful, effective secondary suite reform that does not penalize the homeowners who develop affordable, safe and legal suites or incentivize more illegal suites.

Email before noon March 5 and/or contact your councillor directly through this online form before March 12.


2. Attend the public hearing

Attend the public hearing on Monday March 12, 2018 and voice your support. You can RSVP and find updates in our Facebook Event.


3. Share this post and our Facebook Event with your network.