PSA: Rest easy knowing your rental is safe and legal

There are a lot of benefits to renting a secondary suite in Calgary such as affordability and location. Many suites are built in established neighbourhoods that are near schools, shopping centres, recreational facilities and other important amenities.

Before you sign a lease make sure any rental you consider complies with local safety regulations. Visit and enter the property address into the Secondary Suites Registry to make sure your prospective rental is registered. If the address appears on the map, it has been inspected by The City and is legal and safe to live in. If the address does not come up, the suite may not meet the minimum safety requirements and is not legal.

When searching for your next suite rental, look for the following safety requirements:

1.       Hardwired and working smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in the bedrooms, hallways, the entrance way and in the main living space.

2.       Barrier free windows that open in each bedroom, large enough for an adult to escape out of during an emergency like a fire or flood.

3.       A separate mechanical room containing the furnace and water tank, enclosed by drywall along all walls and ceilings.

4.       Private entrance to the suite, that is separate from the main entry of the building. A suite can have a shared lobby or stairwell space with the main entrance if the space opens directly to the outdoors.

If you think you are living in an unsafe, illegal suite you have options.

·       Contact your landlord or property owner in writing, express your concerns and ask if they are in the process of registering your rental suite with The City.

·       Initiate a complaint. Contact the Planning Services Centre to report the address of an illegal suite. Be prepared to provide us with your contact information.

For more information on renting a safe and legal secondary or backyard suite, visit