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Secondary Suite Permit

Legal Secondary Suites need to be approved by Development Services and must meet requirements of the Building Code and Fire Prevention.

Development Considerations

  • The first step of any project is obtaining Development approval.  Approval is obtained when a Development Officer reviews the submitted site plan and building drawings and determines that they meet the minimum requirements outlined in Land Use Bylaw 5700.
  • Development officers review each application by first determining which zoning district the parcel is located in.  Each residential parcel in the City of Lethbridge has a specific zoning district assigned to it.  Within each zoning district is a set of requirements outlining both permitted and discretionary uses of the parcel, minimum parcel sizes, setbacks to parcel lines for principal and accessory buildings, heights of buildings, etc. 
  • Secondary Suites are only allowed as a Discretionary Use in the R-L Low Density Residential District and a permitted use in the R-M Mixed Density Residential District.  To determine the zoning district of your parcel, visit the Property Information Map, click the 'Property Search' button and enter your address. Once you have determined your zoning district, locate the corresponding district rules in Land Use Bylaw 5700 to determine the minimum requirements for your parcel.
  • For a secondary suite application in the R-L Low Density Residential District, neighbors will be notified within a 60m radius of the project address and will be given 9 regular days to respond with any comments or concerns.
  • Development requirements for secondary suites are:
  • Only one Secondary Suite will be allowed per parcel. 
  • One additional off-street parking stall must be provided and maintained at all times for the Secondary Suite. 
  • The Suite must have a separate access either through an entryway from the exterior of the dwelling or through a separate entrance within a common landing. 
  • The secondary suite shall not be subject to separation from the principal dwelling through a condominium conversion.

Required Permits & Inspections

Design Considerations

Please see the Brochure for New Secondary Suites (above) for additional clarifications.
  • Minimum ceiling height of 1.95m (6'-5") in living areas.
  • Direct exit to the outdoors.
  • Egress windows in bedrooms must meet minimum safety requirements.
  • Walls and ceiling between Secondary Suite and Main Dwelling Unit and around common exits must be a smoke tight barrier protected by not less than 1/2" drywall.
  • Ceiling construction shall be designed to meet Sound Transmission Class  (See Article NBC 2019-AE) Drawings will need to show how this will be satisfied.
  • Doors in a smoke tight barrier must be solid-core, wood door at least 45mm in thickness, and have a self-closing device.
  • Smoke detectors must be installed on all storeys including basements, in all sleeping rooms and location between the sleeping rooms and the remainder of the storey, and if the sleeping rooms are served by a hallway, the smoke alarm shall be installed in the hallway.
  • Smoke alarms are to be interconnected in secondary suite and main dwelling unit.
  • Furnace and hot water tanks must be enclosed in a mechanical room protected on the ceiling and both sides of the wall by smoke tight barrier consisting of no less than 1/2" drywall.
  • Secondary Suite must be provided an independent heating and ventilation system, separate from the main dwelling unit.




Permit Applications