Creating a Secondary Suite

It's a popular way of making a home into a revenue-generating opportunity - creating a secondary suite in your basement. But do you know the procedures and regulations involved?


The City of Lethbridge stipulates that before you can develop your lower level you require a "Secondary Suite Permit." Among other requirements, these development regulations apply:

  • One additional off-street parking stall must be provided and maintained at all times for the Secondary Suite. 
  • The Suite must have a separate access either through an entryway from the exterior of the dwelling or through a separate entrance within a common landing. 
  • The secondary suite shall not be subject to separation from the principal dwelling through a condominium conversion.

Certain design requirements also apply, such as these:

  • Minimum ceiling height of 1.95m (6'-5") in living areas.
  • Direct exit to the outdoors.
  • Egress windows in bedrooms must meet minimum safety requirements.
  • Walls and ceiling between Secondary Suite and Main Dwelling Unit and around common exits must be protected from fire by 1/2" drywall.
  • Smoke alarms are to be interconnected in Secondary suite and Main Dwelling Unit.
  • Furnace and hot water tanks must be enclosed in a mechanical room fire protected on the ceiling and both sides of the wall by 1/2" drywall.
  • Secondary Suite must be provided an independent heating and ventilation system, separate from the main dwelling unit.

So if you're thinking about converting your basement into a secondary suite, be sure you check out all the regulations involved. These are just a portion of the requirements involved - complete guidelines and information can be found on the City of Lethbridge website.


And, of course, before you purchase a home with a secondary suite, be sure to find out if it complies with current regulations.

Questions? Give me a call - I'm happy to help.