Posts Tagged ‘Revenue property’

Edmonton Real Estate 101: the Most Common FAQ’s About Secondary Suites

Tuesday, May 13th, 2014

Edmonton Real Estate 101- the Most Common FAQs About Secondary Suites | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamIn the hunt for a new home so far you’ve covered Spruce Grove real estate, Stony Plain real estate, Parkland County real estate, Edmonton real estate, Parkland County acreages and Edmonton acreages. That’s quite a bit of land to cover, but for good reason. There’s one feature in particular you’re looking for in your new home: a secondary suite.

What Is a Secondary Suite?

A secondary suite is a section of a single detached house that contains all of the features of an apartment, like a kitchen, a bathroom, a bedroom and a living space that remains separated from the main house. Basement apartments are a common example of this type of living space.

What Size Should It Be?

According to Edmonton bylaws, a secondary suite should be at least 30 m² (about 325 square feet) and no more than 70 m² (about 750 square feet). In total, the main house and the secondary suite should be at least 360 m² (3875 square feet).

What Are the Advantages to Owning a Home With a Secondary Suite?

The biggest advantage of purchasing a home with a secondary suite is being able to rent out the unit. Depending on how the space has been divided, most suites can accommodate one or two people. The rent collected on the suite can serve as additional income for homeowners, which is a fantastic way to supplement mortgage payments. Adding a secondary suite can also be beneficial when it comes time to sell your home. Houses with secondary suites usually have a higher property value compared to other houses of a similar size. With a secondary suite, you’ll earn more on the sale.

Are There Any Restrictions to Be Aware Of?

As with most major renovations, zoning restrictions and certain bylaws act as guidelines for building and maintaining a legally sound secondary suite. Check zoning policies for your location to determine how they will impact your situation. In general, there are a few standard rules with which a secondary suite should comply. First, only single detached homes may contain a secondary suite. Second, the suite must fulfill all fire code regulations upon inspection.

Does Owning a Secondary Suite Impact My Taxes?

The short answer is, yes, it does. If you chose to rent out the suite and take on tenants, the rent money collected must be documented with the CRA as earned income when it comes time to file your income taxes for the year.

Is City Funding Available for Suite Renovations?

There are certain grants and funding options available for homeowners seeking to either add a secondary suite to their home or renovate an existing suite. Upon receiving approval and funding, renovated suites will be subject to inspection by city officials to confirm that fire code and building code regulations are met.

Secondary suites are the next wave in creating affordable housing solutions for homeowners and renters.

Have more questions about secondary suites that need answering? Bring them to me! I would be more than happy to discuss any issues related to home ownership and Alberta real estate. Call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here.


A Piece of Advice for Landlords in Alberta

Monday, March 25th, 2013

 | Spruce Grove Stony Plain Parkland County Real Estate | Barry TwynamA Piece of Advice for Landlords in AlbertaAs a realtor in the Spruce Grove, Stony Plain, Parkland County and Edmonton region, I help people buy and sell property.  But I also own several revenue properties myself, and that experience has taught me a few things about dealing with people in rental situations.

Being a landlord in Alberta can be rewarding and daunting.  I recently took a 12-hour course from the Edmonton-area Landlord and Tenant Advisory Board(Call them at 780-496-5959 or visit their website where you will find lots of good information.  As well, tenancy forms are available for sale including tenancy application, tenancy agreement, inspection report and notices).  I am one of those people who try to focus on the most important points of such a course and keep them in the front of my mind.  No doubt you have heard the saying that the three most important things in real estate are location, location, location.  What’s the most important thing to remember as a landlord?   At the end of this course, what I concluded as a landlord was:  Put all tenants on a “fixed-term lease”.

A fixed-term lease has a start date and an end date of the lease.  Unless the lease is extended beyond the end date, the tenant is expected to vacate the property on that date.  No notice is required; the lease IS the notice.  This is beneficial to a landlord in many ways.  It gives you an opportunity to see what a tenant is really like.  A bad tenant can be both financially and emotionally draining.  Initially, I put all my tenants on a 3-month lease.  That is usually enough time to figure out what you have.  If they appear to be good tenants, I may extend the lease period to perhaps 6 months or a year.

There is one technicality that you should remember.  If you have tenants on a fixed-term lease and the lease expires and you take the next month’s rent without signing them onto another fixed-term lease, then the lease converts by default to a month-to-month lease.  Then your hassle factor increases dramatically when you try to evict a bad tenant or sell the property. I advise everyone to put their tenants on fixed-term leases. 

I talked to three people this past week who were trying to get rid of bad tenants: chronically late rent, damage to the home, people living in the house who were not on the lease…. My first question is always:  Are the tenants on a fixed-term lease?  Guess what the answer was in all 3 instances?  Now the landlords have to go through a daunting process requiring them to give various notices in a proper and timely fashion (if not given properly, they are null and void), perhaps bringing their problems to a judge and maybe or maybe not getting an order to vacate, and so on.

My best advice to landlords?  Put your tenants on FIXED-TERM LEASES.

Comments or questions about this article?  Please call or text me at 780-910-9669, email me at, or contact me here. 

Barry Twynam, Realty Executives Leading
#1 14 McLeod Avenue, Spruce Grove, Alberta, T7X 3X3
Tel: 780-962-9696 Cell: 780-910-9669 Fax: 780-962-9699
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