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Accessory suites

Take the accessory suites survey until April 15

In June 2023, Council approved the Affordable Housing Action Plan and tasked City staff to revisit the rules around accessory suites (secondary, garden and garage suites). The goal? To remove obstacles when building approved suites, recognizing their potential to boost our local economy and champion sustainable growth. 

An accessory suite is a secondary dwelling from the principal residence and can be a garage suite, a garden suite or a secondary suite.

A graphic showing the three types of accessory suites, secondary, garden and garage

There are municipal safety regulations for approved accessory suites. Learn about unique requirements for each type of accessory suite. 

Learn more about secondary suites

Learn more about garden suites

Learn more about garage suites

Accessory suites: explained

Benefits of accessory suites:

  • Entry to home ownership
  • Supplemental income for homeowners
  • Diverse and inclusive housing opportunities
  • Multi-generational living
  • Housing for in-home care
  • Affordable rental options
  • Serves our local labour force
  • Encourages sustainable development and growth
  • Efficient use of infrastructure and land
  • Aligns with urban development goals

The rising demand

In the past three years, Airdrie has witnessed a significant increase in applications for accessory suites. This trend is a clear indicator of the growing interest and need for diverse housing options in our community. As we look towards 2024, projections suggest that this demand will not only continue but likely increase.

A bar chart showing the surge in accessory suite applications from 2016 to 2023
Why the surge in applications?

  • Changing housing needs: With evolving demographics and economic conditions, more residents are seeking affordable and flexible housing solutions.
  • Increased awareness: Our efforts to educate and inform the community about the benefits of accessory suites have led to a greater understanding and acceptance of these housing options.
  • Supportive policies: Relaxation of municipal rules and streamlined application processes have made it easier for homeowners to consider adding accessory suites to their properties.

Airdrie's response to this trend:

  • Enhancing infrastructure and services: In anticipation of the growing number of secondary suites, we're proactively planning to enhance our infrastructure and municipal services to support this increase.
  • Continued community engagement: Recognizing the importance of community input, we want to understand residents’ needs and concerns.
  • Monitoring and evaluation: We're closely monitoring this trend and will continuously evaluate our policies and procedures to ensure they meet the evolving needs of our community.

Debunking myths

Myth: Accessory suites decrease property values.
Fact: Contrary to this belief, accessory suites can increase property values by providing additional income potential and appealing to a broader range of buyers.

Myth: They lead to overcrowding and parking issues.
Fact: The City implements careful planning to ensure adequate parking and maintain neighbourhood aesthetics and functionality.

Myth: Suites compromise safety.
Fact: All approved accessory suites must adhere to strict building and safety codes, ensuring they are as safe as any standard home.

Myth: Accessory suites cause more noise and disruption than a single-family home.
Fact: There has been no evidence that shows accessory suites cause more noise or disruption than average residences. 

Myth: Accessory suites strain City services.
Fact: Accessory suites don't significantly increase demand for services. Airdrie has servicing capacity to accommodate accessory suite development.