City expands opportunities for Secondary Suites

The City of Edmonton has taken another big step towards making more

affordable housing available by allowing more secondary suites in mature


"The City is taking action on this issue, giving more homeowners the option of

building a suite in their basement or elsewhere on their property," says

Peter Ohm, Manager, Land Use Policy Planning Branch. "We are also protecting

renters by ensuring secondary suites are up to proper building and fire codes."

New suites will provide much-needed affordable rental housing and can help

first time buyers or empty nesters pay their mortgages. Garden suites will also

now be allowed at the discretion of the City's development authority, but only

in specific locations, and with conditions that ensure new rental units do not

conflict with the integrity of neighbourhoods. The City also wants homeowners

with illegal suites to upgrade their suites to meet building and fire codes now

that zoning regulations allow substantially more secondary suites to exist


Homeowners can get help building secondary suites through the Secondary

Suites Grant Program. The program also provides funding to homeowners who

have existing, illegal secondary suites to renovate the suites to meet fire and

building codes, provided their properties are able to meet zoning regulations.

In exchange for funding, homeowners agree to rent the suite to modest income

tenants at 85% of the median market rent for five years.

These changes come after extensive public consultation and will increase the

number of homes where secondary suites would be allowed by an estimated

270%. The City has also recently allowed garage suites in more locations.

As part of the bylaw, City Council requested city administration provide a

progress report on the program to be presented to council in early 2010.

REALTORS® support these changes as they provide a low cost and expedient

method of providing affordable housing throughout the City.

Real Estate Weekly February 09, 2009

Magdalena Luczak

Magdalena Luczak

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