City inspection looms for Calgary Journal reporter’s suite

Photo by Justin Wilson


After being notified suddenly that we needed to leave our basement suite as the entire house was being demolished, my boyfriend and I began hunting for rental properties in August 2012.

We attended showings where sometimes up to 50 people would cram into the tiny suites to take a look and fill out an application. In the midst of our month-long search, we were lucky to know a couple who were moving out of their place. It was the basement of a four-plex and only a few blocks away from our old place. The landlord was great, neighbours in the building were friendly, and most importantly it was the right price. Since it was pet-friendly, we adopted a puppy, which grew into an 80-lb dog. We knew finding a rental property that allows big dogs can be a nightmare, but we intended to stay in our current rental unit we were ready to purchase a home of our own.

That was until we came home last month (March 2014) to a “warning notice” in our mailbox.

The notice from the City of Calgary informed us that a complaint had been received “suggesting that the number of dwelling unit on your property exceeds the number allowed under the City of Calgary Land Use Bylaw. ” What it means is that on April 9, an inspector will come take a look at our place, and if they decide that the rules have been broken, we will be “required to remove all of the cooking facilities” — the stove, microwave, even the slow cooker and toaster — rendering our home unlivable.

So while our fate rests in the hands of the inspector, we sit anxiously waiting as once again find ourselves in an unexpected circumstance scouring the expensive and unwelcoming Calgary rental market, this time with an 80-lb mutt in tow.


Editor’s note: Roxanne Blackwell is a 4th year journalism student at Mount Royal University and Calgary Journal reporter. As of April 21, Blackwell’s suite was inspected but she has yet to hear anything from the City in response.