Mayor Nenshi's fight for secondary suites and what it means for the Calgary landlord

If you are among the thousands of landlords in Calgary who have maintained and rented a secondary suite without proper license, you may be wondering what these new changes with city council may mean for you.  As a property management company, we have been faced with the conflicting attitudes between what is legal and what is practical in Calgary for many years.  While the use of secondary suites without permit is prohibited , enforcement of this has been next to non-existent.  

I recall a situation years ago where a secondary suite was reported by a disgruntled neighbor.  The authorities gave notice of inspection.  Upon finding an oven in the lower suite, there was a follow up inspection scheduled a week later.  The inspector essentially intimated that if the oven was not there at the next inspection, the inquiry would end.  If I were putting words to non-verbal I would say it was close to "hide the oven for a day, and carry on".  There existed a very clear attitude of turning a blind eye to the reality of the situation.  If we were slumlords and the property was unsafe, I imagine this would have been different, but for a safe and well-maintained space, there was very little concern.

Nenshi's 8 year campaign to provide a more harmonious approach from law to enforcement looks to be coming to fruition.  The idea here is to encourage landlords to go through the proper channels to obtain permits and create safe and regulated suites.  Also, properties that may have been denied previously due to area and zoning may now have opportunity for approval.  Find more information HERE.
So what does this mean for you as a property owner and/or landlord?  

This is a chance to assess your property and weigh the benefits to cost and consider what you value within this discussion.  It will inevitably take a financial investment to bring your property to code if it is not.  Is this worth it for the average revenue property owner and how much will it cost?  Our opinion within the industry of property management is that you can never err too far on the side of safety and caution.  The decision to apply for legal permit to a secondary suite will never be the wrong choice if you can make the cost work.

Let us know what you think and/or share your story or experience in the comments below.

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