What is a secondary suite?
A secondary suite is defined on the City of Calgary’s website as a “self-contained living space consisting of a bedroom, bathroom and kitchen located within or on the same property as a single-family home.” They’re often referred to as basement suites, upper-level suites or mother-in-law suites above a garage.
Why do they matter?
There are currently tens of thousands of illegal secondary suites in Calgary. Since Mayor Naheed Nenshi came into office in 2010, he’s been pushing for City Council to legalize and allow for development of secondary suites throughout the city. Supporters say allowing these suites will open Calgary’s tight rental market and also allow for safer and more affordable housing options. However, others argue they don’t belong in every neighbourhood.