According to a Calgary Housing Company poll, 84 per cent of Calgarians supported the development of new secondary suites.

After falling short of his goal of legalized secondary suites across the city last year, Mayor Naheed Nenshi is making another attempt at pushing the issue forward.

In a year-end interview on CTV, Mayor Nenshi said that finding a more tenable resolution to the issue is still an important goal.

“It’s a moral and ethical issue. We are allowing some 30,000 to 50,000 to 60,000 – no one knows the real number – of our neighbours to live outside the protection of the law. So if you’re landlord if abusing you, if there’s no heat, if there’s mold, if the smoke detectors don’t work, if there are mice, you have nothing and no can help you. And to me that’s untenable,” said Mayor Nenshi. “We need to be able to move to a world where these suites are safe and regulated and an important part of the housing solution.”

Last March, a vote on the Mayor’s plan for a major relaxation of the rules governing secondary suites, one that would have essentially allowed the suites citywide, was defeated in council 7-6. At the time, two aldermen (Ald. John Mar and Ald. Shane Keating) sat the vote out due to the fact they pursuing rezoning for secondary suites in their own homes.

As it stands, secondary suites are only permitted in areas zoned RC2, and largely prohibited in areas zoned RC1, leaving much of the city off-limits for the suites. It is estimated that there are between 10,000 and 50,000 illegal and unregulated suites in houses across the city.

City of Calgary Secondary Suites webpage

CREBnow Blog post: Secondary Suites Questions Remain – November 2nd, 2012


  1. I own a house with an awesome basement suite which I built at my cost years ago. I rented it successfully for years and had great tenants, mostly University students cause I am very near the Uof C. Twice I was busted by the city for an illegal suite cause of the R1 zoning. Last time was three years ago because my tenant(a first year female nursing student) parked in front of my neighbors house three times. I really should have blasted him and told him street parking is public parking but I didnt. I’d rather my friends park their six Harleys in front of his house in the summer. Nenshi has some awesome ideas–we need to relax of change the rules so people can afford housing that basement suites permit.

  2. Nenshi is brilliant. If we allow secondary suites in r1 zoning; it would bring so.many more viable suites onto the market. Give students a chance for more affordable housing. Parking issues can be overcome easily.

    • you’d like to think parking is an easy thing to overcome…. try to get that perspective from someone who has to obtain permit parking, and then they find out a new suite is going in next to them. They won’t give you that same perspective.

  3. Calgary is the only city in canada with such out dated rules regarding secondary suites. Nenshi will catch calgary up with the times.

    Montgomery triangle is awesome!!


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