You may have heard or read a fair amount of talk about “Secondary Suites.” What exactly are they—and what does it have to do with your Edmonton home?
What Is a Secondary Suite?
Basically, a secondary suite is a separate dwelling located inside a single detached house. It includes its own cooking facility; its own bathroom facilities; and its own sleeping quarters. The utilities for this living unit are usually separate from the main house. Secondary suites are also characterized by a separate (private) entrance. Secondary suites can be located in a basement area or in some other interior space of a home that is separate from the rest of the main living space.
Why Would You Want to Create a Secondary Suite?
There are two main reasons you might consider creating a secondary suite in your Edmonton home. The first is if you want to create private space for extended family. You could have an aging parent or another relative who wants to live with family—but wants some independence and privacy. Or you could have adult children who are in the process of launching a career but aren't ready to make the financial commitment to owning a home. One advantage to creating a secondary suite is that a design-build renovator can create a space designed to meet the exact needs and tastes of whoever will be living there.
A second reason to create a secondary suite in your home is to supplement your income and to help create more affordable housing options for renters in Edmonton. If you have more space than you need (or underutilized space in your current home) this allows you to use that space profitably. Instead of purchasing an additional property as a rental, you can have it right under your roof—which makes management and maintenance a lot easier.
What’s the Process for Getting Started?
Not every Edmonton home qualifies to have a secondary suite. They are not permitted in duplexes, semi-detached homes, apartments, or boarding houses. Row housing or homes with a major home-based business are also excluded. To find out for sure visit maps.edmonton.ca and select "Zoning" where you'll be able to search using your property address. Click on your "Current Zone" under the "General" tab. If "secondary suite" is listed under "Permitted Uses" or "Discretionary Uses" you may be allowed a secondary suite. You'll then have the option to legalize an existing illegal suite; create a new suite in an existing home; or create a new suite in a new home.