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Legalizing Existing Suites

The City of Saskatoon has developed occupancy standards that make it more cost effective for owners to upgrade their existing suites and obtain the necessary permits, while at the same time, ensuring better and safer accommodations for tenants.

The desire to legalize suites in existing one-unit dwellings was identified by the residents of the City during the Plan Saskatoon initiative. As a result, in 1999, the Zoning Bylaw was modified to provide greater opportunity to legalize suites throughout Saskatoon. However, it quickly became apparent that the majority of existing suites in the City would not meet the requirements of the National Building Code, and the cost to upgrade to the full extent of the code would be cost prohibitive.

In seeking a solution to this problem, the City of Saskatoon, in consultation with the community, adopted new occupancy standards for existing suites, which focus on life and health safety code issues.

As of January 1, 2002, all existing suites, that were built prior to January 1, 1999, will have to comply with these revised occupancy and zoning requirements. Those suites built after January 1, 1999 must fully comply with the National Building Code.

Legalizing an Existing Suite

In order to legalize an existing suite:

  • Contact Community Standards - Bylaw Compliance to request an inspection. 
  • Submit fee and any appropriate supporting materials to Community Standards, City Hall - 3rd Floor, 222 3rd Avenue North, Saskatoon, SK S7K 0J5
  • ​The application fee is $1750.00.

Legalizing Suites Process

Community Standards Review

Once a complaint or referral is received, a Community Standards Bylaw Inspector will:

  • Check the Zoning Bylaw No. 8770 to verify the permitted use for your property;
  • Check building permit records to determine if there is a permit for a second dwelling unit;
  • Check plumbing permit records to determine what plumbing fixtures have been approved and inspected; and
  • Perform an initial on-site inspection.

During the on-site inspection, we will determine:

  • What other zoning issues may exist with your suite;
  • What plumbing fixtures have been installed; and
  • What building construction items need to be addressed such as ventilation, stairwell, fire safety, window and door specifications.
We will talk with you

Our staff will advise you of any non-complying situations and outline what needs to be done to legalize the suite, including zoning requirements, building, and plumbing matters, or what needs to be done to remove the suite.

It's your choice

Once you have spoken with the Bylaw Inspector and they have outlined your alternatives, it is your choice to remove the suite, find an alternate legal use, or upgrade to a legal suite. NOTE: If you do not upgrade or remove the suite, we will be required to take appropriate action to rectify the situation.

If You Choose to Remove the Suite

We will follow-up to ensure all remedial work is completed. NOTE: If you remove the suite, it may only be reinstalled in full compliance with the National Building Code.

If You Choose to Find an Alternative Legal Use for the Suite

We will confirm with you all necessary work and whether or not a building and/or plumbing permit is required.

If improvements are required to legalize the suite:

  • You must supply plans based upon the improvements recommended by Community Standards; and
  • You may need to apply for a building permit from the Building Standards and/or hire a plumber to apply for a plumbing permit.
  • Separate permits are required for existing plumbing work that was done without a permit or for new plumbing work.

Once your building and/or plumbing permit applications have been received by Building Standards, they will:

  • Review the permit application(s) and plans in accordance with the initial inspection report prepared by the Development Officer;
  • Approve the permit(s) and collect the applicable fees;
  • Perform inspections during construction;
  • Issue an Advisory of Deficiencies for certain minor plumbing deficiencies; and
  • Advise Community Standards when the work has been satisfactorily completed.

When all work related to the building and/or plumbing permits is complete, a Community Standards Bylaw Inspector will:

  • Issue an unqualified Occupancy Permit; or
  • Issue a qualified Occupancy Permit when an Advisory of Deficiencies has been issued.
  • If the building inspector observes that work is not proceeding according to the building permit, they will advise Community Standards, who will commence appropriate enforcement action.

If neither a building nor plumbing permit are required, a Community Standards Bylaw Inspector will:

  • Advise the owner to proceed with any work;
  • Follow-up to ensure the work is completed;
  • Perform a final inspection; and
  • Issue an unqualified Occupancy Permit