Garage/Garden/Secondary suite Grants in Edmonton-Alberta


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Garage/Garden/Secondary suite Grants in Edmonton-Alberta

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Mon Aug 06, 2012 8:50 pm

Garage/Garden/Secondary suite Grants in Edmonton-Alberta
Cornerstones: Edmonton’s Plan for Affordable Housing

Affordable housing needs in Edmonton are significant and growing. Access to safe, adequate and affordable housing is fundamental to the physical, economic and social well being of individuals, families and communities.

Cornerstones, Edmonton’s Plan for Affordable Housing
2006 to 2011 is a five-year plan, approved by City Council with a major objective to substantially increase the supply of safe, adequate and affordable housing for low-income households in the City.

To assist in meeting this Cornerstones objective, the City has launched four new Cornerstones Grant Programs relating to Secondary, Garage and Garden Suites with Provincial block funds for housing and City Cornerstones funding:

A.Building a New Secondary Suite in a New Home;

B.Building a New Secondary Suite in an Existing Home;

C.Upgrading an Existing Secondary, Garage or Garden Suite; and

D. Building a New Garage or Garden Suite.

If you are interested in building a new Garage or Garden Suite in a new or existing home, then this information guide is for you. The City of Edmonton’s general phone number 311 will refer you to the appropriate resource for further information.


A “Secondary Suite” is a self-contained dwelling located within a single detached house and has separate cooking, sleeping and bathing facilities. A Secondary Suite also has a separate entrance from the single detached house, either from a common indoor landing or directly from the exterior of the house. Secondary Suites include the conversion of basement space to a dwelling, or the addition of new floor space to an existing single detached house. Secondary Suites do not include housing that was initially designed for two or more dwellings such as Duplex Housing, Semi-detached Housing, Apartment Housing, or Boarding and Lodging Housing.

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A “Garage Suite” is a self-contained dwelling located above or attached to a side or rear of a detached garage which is accessory to a single detached house. A Garage Suite has an entrance separate from the vehicle entrance to the rear detached garage, either from a common indoor landing or directly from the exterior of the structure. It has separate cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities.

A “Garden Suite” is a self-contained single-storey dwelling which is accessory to, but detached from, the principal single detached house. It has separate cooking, sleeping and bathroom facilities.

Program Purpose

The Cornerstones Grant Program for Building a New Garage or Garden Suite has been developed to increase through the provision of a one time grant, the number of new long term affordable rental units that conform to City zoning and Provincial building code requirements.

Program Details

This Program is designed to provide funding on a first-come-first-served basis to assist an applicant/property owner with the installation of a new Garage or Garden Suite on a property.

As the total annual budget for allocation under this Program is based on limited funds from Provincial and City funding sources, City funding commitments under this Program will be conditional on budget availability.

An applicant for funding under this Program must:
Show commitment to the purpose of the Program and demonstrate ability to oversee the construction and manage the Suite over the full five-year term of the operating agreement with the City;
Be the owner occupier of the property where the Suite is proposed or a homebuilder where the intent is to transfer the agreement to a future owner occupier;
Provide receipts indicating project costs beyond the grant funding amount have been paid prior to accessing grant funding.

Funding under this Program will be a grant of up to 75% of eligible costs to a maximum of $24,000 per Garage or Garden Suite. All approved Program funds will be limited to construction approved by the Branch that meets the Alberta Building Code. Any construction beyond the scope of the Program will not be covered by Program funding.

It is understood by the parties that the Cornerstones Secondary Suite Grant Program requires the Owner to use the Owner’s funds and not other Government funding for its proportionate share of the Program Funded Suite.

A proposed Suite must comply with the Edmonton Zoning Bylaw prior to being considered for funding.1

The Property is security for the obligation of the Owner up to the maximum Grant Funding amount and constitutes a charge against the property. The City may file a caveat that will be discharged upon expiry or termination of the operating agreement.

1 Information on all City of Edmonton land use planning (zoning) and development requirements relating to a Secondary, Garage or Garden Suite is available by accessing the City of Edmonton website ( and initiating a “Secondary Suites” key word search.

General Funding Parameters

The project must be located within the boundaries of the City of Edmonton;

An applicant who is in tax arrears is not eligible for Program funding;

The project can only be developed as an accessory to a single detached house;

Only one Suite is permitted per property;

The applicant/owner must have secured the property, as evidenced by holding title or having a valid offer to purchase, before applying for Program funds;

A Program funded Suite must be available to rent to a household with less than median income2 and is capable of independent living without in-situ Support Services; requires no on-going housing operating subsidies from the government;

The property must meet City zoning and Alberta Building Code requirements to permit a Garage or Garden Suite;

A suite must comply with Edmonton Zoning Bylaw minimum and maximum Suite size requirements:
Required Suite Size/Floor Area

Eligible costs means all reasonable costs related to the creation of a modest, self-contained Program-funded Suite.
Eligible costs include:
required servicing, building materials, and qualified labour for construction to meet minimum health and safety code requirements for Garage or Garden Suites, development and construction permits;
Non Eligible costs include:
furnishings, appliances, site development and costs incurred prior to approval of Cornerstones grant funding.

An applicant approved for funding under this Program must abide by the requirements for a landlord under the Residential Tenancies Act.3

2 The City determines whether a tenant qualifies based on its determination of median income in the City of Edmonton. Information on the median income for specific household sizes in Edmonton is available from the City’s Housing Branch as well as on the City web site It is the responsibility of the Owner to inform the City that the tenant is earning less than median income for their household size.

3 For additional information please contact the Landlord Tenant and Advisory Board (LTAB) at: 8904 – 118 Avenue, Edmonton, AB, T5B 0T6, (780)496-2978,

Grant Application

The grant application form is attached. The City will evaluate completed grant applications and required documentation.
Two itemized estimates of the total construction cost of the proposed Suite;
Copy of a valid Development Permit and Building Permit;
Copy of a floor plan of the proposed Suite approved by a City Plans Examiner;
Copy of land title or valid offer to purchase to confirm ownership of the property;
Copy of a current property tax notice/assessment;
Confirmation of project financing.

Complete grant applications packages are to be submitted to:

Mailing Address:
Housing Branch – Secondary Suites
11th Floor
10250 – 101 Street
Edmonton, AB T5J 3P4

Funding will be committed based on the figures submitted and no cost over-runs will be covered by the City of Edmonton. The Branch decision is final.

The City of Edmonton will make every effort to notify an applicant within ten (10) working days on the status of their completed application and required documentation.

Grant Approval

The City will issue a letter to an approved applicant enclosing a draft five year operating agreement that specifies the amount approved and the terms and conditions of the grant approval. In response, the applicant shall sign and return all copies of the agreement. Among other things, this agreement will commit the applicant to be an ongoing owner occupier and ensure the new Suite is available for rent to a household earning less than median income.

One hundred percent (100%) of Program approved funds may be paid to the applicant upon a final inspection by the City Housing Branch after all work is completed and receipt of all required final inspection reports which confirm compliance with appropriate governing codes and legislation. All grant funding cheques will be made payable to the applicant.

The City retains the right to access the property and monitor the project and ensure compliance with all terms and conditions of the operating agreement over its five-year term. The City may inspect a Program-funded property on an annual basis. The applicant and tenant must provide a City Inspector access within one week of a request being made to enter the premises for up to five years after the receipt of Program funding.

The applicant is required to notify the City of any ownership or Suite tenancy changes before the five year term has completed.

Approval of an application will be revoked if the work is not completed within twelve months of the date of the approval letter. All required documentation and a request for final inspection by the City must be submitted by this time.

An applicant who breaches the terms of the signed operating agreement may be required to repay the funds on a pro-rated basis based on the balance of the remaining term.

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