Secondary Suite

What is a secondary suite?

Secondary suites provide a range of housing choices in the Town of St. Paul.

A secondary suite means a subordinate self-contained dwelling unit located in a structure in which the principal use is a single detached dwelling. A secondary suite has cooking, food preparation, sleeping and bathing facilities which are separate from those of the principal dwelling within the structure. Secondary suites also must have a separate entrance from the dwelling. This use includes conversion of basement space to a dwelling unit, or the addition of new floor space for a secondary suite to an existing dwelling. This use does not include duplexes, row housing, or apartments where the structure was initially designed for two or more dwelling units, and does not include boarding and lodging houses. Garden suites and garage suites are not considered secondary suites.

To see if your property is zoned for a secondary suite, check your property's zoning here.

How do I develop a Secondary Suite (basement suite)?

Step 1:  It is recommended that a fee for service form (fee: $262.50) and credit card authorization form be completed and returned to  

Tip: In existing homes, the reason why it is recommended that an inspection be completed prior to applying for a development permit is that the homeowner may be unable to make the required changes (due to building permit requirements) because of costs and/or timing.

Tip:  Don't forget to check if your zoning district allows for a secondary suite. A Secondary suite may be considered either: Permitted Use (P), or Discretionary Use (D), or Not Allowed (-) within your zoning district.

Tip:  Safety Tips Brochure - Secondary Suites Standards & Smoke Alarms

Step 2:  Town's Building Safety Codes Officer (SCO) conducts a site visit. An inspection is prepared to outline any required changes. 

Step 3:  If after receiving a report, the homeowner desires to proceed with a secondary suite then a development permit application can be filed with the Town's Planning Department to request permission. 

Tip:  When the site inspection report (dated within 1 year) & development permit application are submitted together, the Development Permit application is FREE of charge.

Step 4:  Once a development permit application is submitted, the department reviews the application on it's own merits (zoning, location, and availability of parking).

Tip:  If listed as a permitted use, the processing of an application is up to 40 days.

Tip: If listed as a discretionary use, it can take up to 3-4 months to receive a final decision.  These types of applications can be approved with conditions, tabled for more information or refused by the Municipal Planning Commission.

Step 5:  If the Development Permit is approved, there is a 21 day appeal period.  If no appeals are received, a homeowner can proceed with applying for a Building Permit.

Step 6:  Homeowner makes the required changes with the secondary suite and then calls The Inspections Group Inc. for an inspection.

Step 7:  Homeowner may rent out the secondary suite once a Final Inspection Report and Permit Services Report (PSR) has been completed by The Inspection Group Inc. stating that the secondary suite is code compliant.  

Illegal Suites exist in the Town of St. Paul

There are many secondary suite properties which are illegal because they have not been approved or inspected. 

To find out if an owner has a legal secondary suite, you may ask to see a copy of the issued Development Permit from the Town of St. Paul.  Secondary suites have been regulated within the Town limits for quite some time (1967).

To find out if the secondary suite meets the building codes, you may ask to see a copy of the building permit -  final inspection report.  The current rules and regulations are located here (cieling height, smoke-tight walls/ceiling/doors, window of proper size to escape, smoke alarms etc.)

**It is not too late to comply with the current regulations. Please call the department for more information.

What are the rights of a landlord and/or tenant?

The rules that govern landlord and/or tenant is called the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA). A link to the Province of Alberta's webpage can be found here.  The Town of St. Paul does not regulate or enforce these rules.  The link above could be used as a reference for a landlord and/or a tenant.

Secondary Suite Registry

Find or verify a legal and safe suite on the list below. The list consists of properties from April 2023 to date (since the adoption of Bylaw 2023-03).

Street Address Development Permit Building Permit

Incentive Program extended - ends: April 30, 2028

At the June 10, 2024, Regular Council meeting, Town Council passed a motion to extend this program (free development permit) for an additional 4 years, ending on April 30, 2028.