• The health and safety of our clients and our tradesmen is top priority as COVID-19 continues to impact our communities. We are currently completing existing secondary suite development projects and will move forward on all future renovation/development projects on an individual basis. 


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  • Legal and Design Side of Things

    Landlord Legal Side of Secondary Suite

    Legal and Landlord Side of Things


    Zoning and Lot Size

    There are different zoning areas throughout the city that can accommodate secondary suites, garage suites and garden suites. Check with the city website to see if you’re neighborhood is zoned for this construction. Also make sure that your lot size is within reason of the required size. Click Here

    Can you’re home accommodate a separate entrance for the secondary suite? Suite Builder can assess the property if you don’t already have a second entrance to see if it’s feasible.

    Budget and Cash Flow

    Will you borrow against your mortgage or do you have a line of credit or other cash readily available? Remember a secondary suite is an investment which adds value to your home. Make sure you have a reasonable budget to work within. Suite Builder will work with you to determine how much it will cost to do all the required renovations for your secondary suite. Suite Builder works very hard to give you a competitive estimate and stay within budget.

    Are you Ready to Be a Landlord?

    Make sure you know your landlord and tenant legislation rules. You have to treat your income suite like a business. Be sure you have all the proper documentation. The City of Edmonton offers classes through the landlord tenant advisory. Click here for details.

    Are you handy at fixing a leaky tap or a toilet that won’t stop running? If you’re not it could cost you extra dollars to hire out these simple jobs for you.

    Make sure when you buy appliances that you get the extended warranties. If you are buying used appliances be sure they are in good working condition. It will save a lot of headache and time.

    Be aware that you will have to claim your income from your suite on your tax return. You will also have to provide a receipt to your tenant for the rent.

    Contact your insurance company to let them know that construction is taking place and that you are putting a secondary suite in your home. This may raise your insurance policy. Don’t over look this detail, if something should happen and you’re insurance wasn't notified you may not be covered, right when you need it the most.

    Don’t Rent Too Low

    You want to attract renters that aren’t solely focused on the monthly rent but more on the location and amenities that you can offer in the suite and the neighborhood. Otherwise it will lead to a larger turn over because those renters will go to the next lowest rental property once the lease is up. Every time you have to find a new renter it’s costing you more money and time.

    Treat Renters Well and They Will Stay

    It is a nice gesture to have a “Welcome” gift for your new tenant a bottle of wine, movie tickets or a fruit basket. A small Christmas gift doesn’t hurt either. When you treat your tenant with respect most likely they will respect you and your property. It’s a win win situation.

    Live Up or Down?

    If you’re a single person you may consider renting out the top suite for more income. You can normally generate more income from a top level suite. Do this for a few years and you could pay down your mortgage much faster or use that extra money to travel or buy your next income property.

    Layout and Design Side of Things


    Before Suite Builder Starts

    Suite Builder makes every effort to make your renovation stress and hassle free. However make sure you have a backup plan if you have small children, pets or you work from home. Some days will be louder than others cutting out your foundation for an egress window will be louder than painting or cabinet building day.

    Address the Problems First

    Always make sure you address moisture or smells that are lurking in your basement before you spend thousands of dollars to have it all be damaged with those same problems. Point out any concerns big or small to Suite Builder. No point starting any renovation if you don’t have a good foundation.

    Timeless Trends

    Always consider timeless trends when it comes to designing your secondary suite. Interior design is ever changing so don’t fall victim to the trends that could be over by the time you go to rent your suite. Look through magazines for great inspiration as well as websites. Pay close attention to things that have stood the test of time.

    Design It and They Will Come

    Suite Builder guides you through the process of what is important for the best layout of your suite. Consider your everyday life and how you would want to live in your suite. Do you need a counter to put your groceries on when you walk in the door? Think about a place to hang your coats and put your boots and shoes. Where would you place your TV, electrical outlets and phone jacks? Do you want a linen closet in your bathroom or can your space accommodate one in the hallway. Suite Builder works with you to design the best possible kitchen for your space. Taking into consideration traffic flow, food prep and clean up.

    Common Area’s

    If at all possible the least amount of common area equates to less disruption to your tenant and your family. Try to have separate laundry sets for each unit if at all possible. Offering in suite laundry is a great amenity to have when finding high end tenants. Possibly allow the secondary suite to have the backyard to look after and enjoy, letting the top unit enjoy the front and side yard. If you don’t mind sharing your yard then you could come to some agreement with your tenant to “timeshare” the common area. You want to make sure this is agreed upon up front. You don’t want to be soaking in your hot tub and have your tenant and friends all stroll in for a backyard barbeque.