How To Legalize An Existing Illegal Basement Suite in Calgary [2024]

Mar 29, 2024 | Calgary Real Estate Investing Blog

Are you curious how to legalize your existing illegal basement suite in Calgary? Santhosh Nathan answers those questions.


00:00:04.040 all right everyone welcome back to this
00:00:05.720 week’s episode so today I’m going to be
00:00:07.120 talking about how to legalize your
00:00:08.480 existing illegal Suite in Calgary under
00:00:11.080 the city of Calgary’s uh Suite amnesty
00:00:13.480 program uh this program currently runs
00:00:15.559 until the end of 2026 and it allows
00:00:18.439 homeowners or investors with an existing
00:00:20.439 illegal Suite uh to legalize their
00:00:22.640 basement Suite under a relaxed set of
00:00:24.320 requirements uh I’m going to start start
00:00:26.359 off by talking about some of the
00:00:27.480 exterior kind of big picture
00:00:28.800 requirements the city is going to look
00:00:30.199 at uh and then we’ll go into the
00:00:31.920 interior um building requirements that
00:00:34.680 the inspector is going to want to see
00:00:37.110 [Music]
00:00:41.120 okay um starting off let’s go with the
00:00:43.719 uh start with the lot width so this is
00:00:46.039 going to apply to a detach property okay
00:00:48.920 uh if you have a detach property the
00:00:50.440 minimum lot width is 9 M uh however if
00:00:54.079 you have the if you meet a minimum of 7
00:00:56.000 and 1/2 M um and and you have a corner
00:00:59.640 lot or if you have a property with a
00:01:01.519 back alley and you can provide three or
00:01:03.559 more parking spots um then you can still
00:01:06.159 um get away get away by um meeting these
00:01:08.840 requirements
00:01:10.479 okay um in the case of a semi detached
00:01:13.280 property so you buy a half duplex okay
00:01:15.720 so we’re looking at a semi detach now
00:01:18.680 this 9 M lot width requirement
00:01:21.560 essentially becomes 6 M okay so that
00:01:25.040 gives you a bit more um leway uh as far
00:01:28.640 as parking requirements go as long as
00:01:30.680 you meet your law width requirements and
00:01:33.159 you can provide two parking spots so one
00:01:35.200 for your main floor and one for your
00:01:37.520 basement Suite um you should have no
00:01:39.439 issues getting approved okay uh the two
00:01:42.159 things that the city is going to require
00:01:44.799 essentially before you start if you
00:01:47.079 can’t meet any of these requirements
00:01:48.520 you’re going to go to a develop
00:01:50.600 development permit so we’re going to
00:01:52.280 call it a DP so if you can’t meet any of
00:01:55.079 these you’re going to apply for a DP and
00:01:56.840 this would take 6 to8 weeks to to
00:01:59.920 complete and once you get approval for
00:02:01.960 your DP you’re going to move on to your
00:02:04.280 building
00:02:06.000 permit uh which is going to cover all
00:02:08.160 the stuff that you need to do on the
00:02:09.280 interior okay now let’s move on to the
00:02:11.080 interior of
00:02:12.840 [Music]
00:02:16.640 things okay now let’s move on to the
00:02:18.840 interior of the property and look at
00:02:20.440 what the city is going to require to
00:02:22.040 legalize your existing illegal Suite so
00:02:24.720 the first things first would be your
00:02:25.959 egress windows so the openable a area of
00:02:30.200 your window has to be at least 35 square
00:02:33.440 m with no Dimension less than 38 CM so
00:02:37.239 that’s roughly 15 in um minimum
00:02:40.080 dimension on either side okay um you
00:02:42.840 also do require a 30-in window well
00:02:45.120 projection uh especially if your window
00:02:46.720 is below grade so if you have an older
00:02:49.040 style window that’s egress however it’s
00:02:50.920 done a while back your window well might
00:02:52.720 not be up to code today so just keep
00:02:54.519 that in mind okay uh the next thing
00:02:56.879 would be your interconnected smoke and
00:02:59.159 carbon monoxide side alarms uh so CD
00:03:01.720 does require that the smoke alarms are
00:03:03.840 hardwired between each unit and that
00:03:06.280 they are interconnected okay U so that
00:03:09.040 when it goes off in one unit it also um
00:03:11.200 sounds the alarm in the other unit and
00:03:13.799 they do require these in specific places
00:03:15.720 such as the mechanical room along and if
00:03:18.720 you have if you have a shared hallway or
00:03:20.360 stairwell uh they do require a smoke
00:03:23.720 detector there as well and there are a
00:03:25.560 few other spots um typically your
00:03:27.239 electrician should be able to guide you
00:03:28.799 on where these would go to meet the
00:03:30.599 current code okay uh the next one would
00:03:33.120 be drywalling your walls and ceiling
00:03:35.239 often when we walk into an illegal Suite
00:03:36.959 we do see that especially in older
00:03:38.519 property sometimes there’s wood paneling
00:03:40.239 on the walls and ceilings or there’s
00:03:42.599 some sort of shiplap thing going on um
00:03:45.920 if there’s no drywall Behind these uh
00:03:47.920 you would have to drywall all your walls
00:03:49.680 and ceiling and this does include the
00:03:52.120 mechanical room as well and which is
00:03:53.879 often an area that is not drywalled in
00:03:56.599 most of the properties that we see um so
00:03:58.879 do factor that into your budget as well
00:04:01.519 you do have to drive all those
00:04:03.640 spaces the next one would be a protected
00:04:06.879 entrance or exit so if you have a
00:04:09.599 property where you have a separate
00:04:10.920 entrance for your basement Suite so call
00:04:12.599 it you have a rear entrance that’s kind
00:04:14.159 of dug out U or you have a side entry
00:04:16.680 and you do have a window above that um
00:04:19.079 entry exit way you do you do have to
00:04:21.519 provide some sort of like cancel weever
00:04:22.919 structure or like a a protected
00:04:25.840 protected way to exit the suite in the
00:04:28.440 event that there’s a fire and the the
00:04:30.639 glass above the exit ends up breaking um
00:04:33.880 so yeah these are kind of the main
00:04:34.960 things that the city is going to be
00:04:35.880 looking for um these are fairly straight
00:04:37.680 forward for the most part and if you
00:04:38.960 need any assistance feel free to reach
00:04:40.400 out to
00:04:45.960 us


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