Tuesday, October 16, 2012

City announces launch of Suite Safety Pilot program

The City’s Development & Building Approvals (DBA), in partnership with the Calgary Fire Department, have been directed by Council to conduct a suite safety pilot. This project identified 50 existing suites to take part in the pilot. The objectives of this pilot are to see if suites have relevant permits, have the correct land use designation and are up to Alberta Fire and Building Code Standards. The City will then assist property owners through City processes to bring their suites up to compliance, if possible. This pilot will run until April 2013, followed by a report back to Council by June 2013 with the findings and recommendations.

Homeowners whose suites have been identified as one of the 50 will receive letters from The City in a phased notification system beginning in October. The letter explains the pilot, why their suite has been selected and The City’s expectations moving forward. Each week up to ten letters will be sent; those who receive a letter are asked to contact The City to arrange an inspection time.

The tenants who will be affected by this pilot will receive a notification on their door informing them that the suite they are occupying has been selected to be in this City pilot, that their landlord has received a letter explaining next steps, and indicating that  they can go to calgary.ca or contact 311 for more information.

According to Kevin Griffiths, Chief Building Official and Manager of Building Regulations, “We want to continue to educate homeowners with suites on the importance of providing safe and legal accommodations to tenants.” He added, “The City wants to be proactive about ensuring suites are compliant.”

The City has a secondary suite grant program to help citizens bring their suite up to code. Property owners who live in the house where the suite is located may be eligible for this grant.

Information is available online for both homeowners and tenants at calgary.ca/suitesafety, including a checklist of what inspectors will be looking for during the suite assessments.

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