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    Default Illegal Secondary Suite

    I purchased my house with an illegal secondary suite in the basement... wondering what it takes to get it inspected and passed by the City so its legal.

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    Each suite will have different requirements. Best thing to do is call an inspector and have them come out to check. Generally, you'll need to remove the stove and modify the windows to a specific size.
    Original Post NAZI Moderated


    Originally posted by r3cc0s
    Felon or Mistermeiner

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    Stoves aren't allowed in a secondary suite?

    That really sucks because most people would want to have one as a totally seperate unit without having to share a common space.

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    Originally posted by bulaian
    Stoves aren't allowed in a secondary suite?

    That really sucks because most people would want to have one as a totally seperate unit without having to share a common space.
    Stoves are allowed in a secondary suite, yes, however you can't keep it down there if the city finds out you have an illegal secondary suite.

    OP, first thing to do is look at your zoning, to see if you're even allowed to apply for a secondary suite. If not, you're SOL, and won't be able to legalize it until the current laws change (which is slow going right now).

    If you are zoned for it, then you'll have to apply for a secondary suite first, then get an inspector to come out for a look after the application is approved.

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    THANKS!

    whats the worst case scenario? I don't want to call the City and notify them of the illegal suite and get myself in a bunch of $hit because it may cost me an arm and a leg.

    Changing window sizes plus other things can add up pretty quick. Rather just keep it as is?

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    Is there a checklist of items that need to be addressed that I can access online? I have asked the City, and the chick wasn't too helpful.

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    Call 311, if you are in Calgary and speak to an operator. Its the quickest and easiest way to do. Best bet is to say you live a couple of doors down and would like to apply for a secondary suit permit, than ask the necessary questions or more likely they will just let you know how it works. However, make sure your zoning(as mentioned above) is the same as yours.

    http://www.calgary.ca/PDA/DBA/Pages/...aw-1P2007.aspx

    Click on the map below as to what you are close to and find out what zone it is.

    I know that R-2 lots are good to go...but beyond that i cant rmr much from my school days.
    Last edited by adidas; 02-09-2012 at 05:54 PM.

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    Do you have an 'illegal' suite, or a 'non-conforming' suite? It makes a big difference.

    If your house is zoned for a secondary suite, but your suite does not meet all codes, it is a legal but 'non-conforming' suite and may be rented out with a stove.

    If your house is not zoned for a secondary suite, you have an illegal suite and all you can do is refer to your tenants as roommates.

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    Originally posted by bimmere92
    THANKS!

    whats the worst case scenario? I don't want to call the City and notify them of the illegal suite and get myself in a bunch of $hit because it may cost me an arm and a leg.

    Changing window sizes plus other things can add up pretty quick. Rather just keep it as is?

    Make sure it's legal, and if it's not legal, don't rent it out. They will find out eventually when someone complains about parking and they find out there are too many units on your land and your tenant is the one who gets the shit end of the stick because you have to kick them out.

    JUST happened to me. I'm renting a basement suite and it's actually illegal. Moved in 2 months ago, getting kicked out already. It fucking SUCKS. All because the chick across the street complained to Calgary Bylaw Services.

    Good luck.

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    If you remove the stove from the basement and remove the receptacle from the wall (so there is no where to plug it in), it will never be an issue, nobody will look twice.

    If there is a stove and 220V outlet there then they will start asking a bunch of questions.

    At the end of the day you can do whatever you want in your basement provided you aren't renting it out. However they likely won't believe you if it has stove/receptacle there and will drop in to check at a later date.
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    Why can't you have a stove?
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    Originally posted by CapnCrunch
    Why can't you have a stove?
    Practically, fire risk.

    Legally, as Sillysod said, usually that's a sign of a secondary suite.

    So it'll need to be in R2 zone and there are a lot of safety guideline you have to follow. And of course, pay more property taxes.

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    Originally posted by Xtrema


    Practically, fire risk.

    Legally, as Sillysod said, usually that's a sign of a secondary suite.

    So it'll need to be in R2 zone and there are a lot of safety guideline you have to follow. And of course, pay more property taxes.
    Is it just plain illegal to have a stove in a basement? Or is there some pain in the ass code crap you need to do to make it legal?

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    Originally posted by bimmere92
    THANKS!

    whats the worst case scenario? I don't want to call the City and notify them of the illegal suite and get myself in a bunch of $hit because it may cost me an arm and a leg.

    Changing window sizes plus other things can add up pretty quick. Rather just keep it as is?
    Man, I'd sure hate to have someone's death on my conscience because they couldn't get out the window of my rental in the event of a fire.

    "We need a vaccination for stupidity, with booster shots against an unwillingness to learn."

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    Originally posted by CapnCrunch
    Yes, it is completely illegal to have a functioning stove in the basement of your home. The only case in which it is legal is If you have R2 zoning and have gone through the proper procedures to get it down there (permit, inspection, etc.).

    The only thing you are allowed to have in the basement of a non-r2 zone home is pretty much a microwave/hotplate.

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    Originally posted by codetrap


    Man, I'd sure hate to have someone's death on my conscience because they couldn't get out the window of my rental in the event of a fire.
    Gotcha!

    Any idea what the required opening size is for the windows? Windows are larger than average but how big do they have to be?

    To be honest, I do want to get certified and inspected.... but if that means costing me a crapload of $$$, I will have to wait.

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    it's all on the city's website.




    And if what codetrap suggested actually happened you would have it on your conscience while you sat in jail.
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    Originally posted by sillysod
    ...
    And if what codetrap suggested actually happened you would have it on your conscience while you sat in jail.
    Jail, no. A big fine, yes.

    Calgary Landlord fined $92,000 after death of two tenants in house fire.
    By Diane Kelly
    Apr 11, 2010, 11:24

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    A landlord in Calgary has been fined $92,000 after two of his tenants died in a house fire. The two tenants: Darrell Wright and Rock Mitchell died in July of 2008 and it's taken till 2010 for judgement.

    It seems an electrical overload caused the fire. The property was zoned as a single family dwelling, but Yan Teng Li who owned the property had 8 individual suites. To think that Yan Teng Li had nailed the windows shut, and had no smoke detectors in place. This man just obviously has no care for human life. These people had no chance to get out.

    I hope that this is a warning to other landlords. Any bedroom suite must have windows, and the windows need to have a 3.8 sq ft openable area.

    Yan Teng Li received one of the highest fines levied in a Calgary city case.

    Diane Kelly

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    Originally posted by Xtrema


    Practically, fire risk.

    Legally, as Sillysod said, usually that's a sign of a secondary suite.

    So it'll need to be in R2 zone and there are a lot of safety guideline you have to follow. And of course, pay more property taxes.
    How is it a fire risk? A properly run 240, 50 amp stove outlet is perfectly safe. Why would it all of a sudden be unsafe in the basement?

    AFAIK the only issue is zoning. City doesn't want suites in a certain area, so it's not zoned R2. Therefore you can't put a stove in the basement. The only "fire risk" is when DIY'ers put improper wiring or breakers to try and "hide" the illegal suite.

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    Originally posted by spacerz


    Yes, it is completely illegal to have a functioning stove in the basement of your home. The only case in which it is legal is If you have R2 zoning and have gone through the proper procedures to get it down there (permit, inspection, etc.).

    The only thing you are allowed to have in the basement of a non-r2 zone home is pretty much a microwave/hotplate.
    Actually, that's not precisely true. A stove has generally been used to determine whether there is an illegal secondary suite, but the way the bylaw definitions actually read is:
    188 “Dwelling Unit”
    (a) means a use:
    (i) that contains two or more rooms used or designed to
    be used as a residence by one or more persons; and
    (ii) that contains a kitchen, living, sleeping and sanitary
    facilities

    So if it doesn't have both a kitchen (i.e. cooking facilities) and sanitary facilities (i.e. bathroom) it isn't a dwelling unit. You can have a stove in the basement as long as you don't have a bathroom. If you did have a bathroom, microwave/hot plate could still be considered cooking facilities, but of course they are easier to hide, if in fact you do have a separate dwelling unit in the basement where the zoning doesn't allow it.

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