Your proposed backyard suite must meet building code and Zoning Bylaw regulations. The submission package below explains some of the requirements regarding windows, fire protection, separation of dwelling units, soundproofing, smoke alarms, handrails, room heights, air duct system, furnaces, plumbing, exits and address naming conventions for your backyard suite.
Related: Find more information on applying for a Secondary Suite
- Complete the Backyard Suite Permit Application Package and ensure your application contains all required information and documents. Incomplete submissions will not be accepted. The project package may be updated at any time, be sure to check back to this web page for the most current version.
- A completed Residential Permit Fee Calculation Form is required as part of the application.
- The application must be signed by the legal owner of the property as well as the applicant.
- If applicable, contact Technical Safety Authority of Saskatchewan (TSASK) for inspections and permits for gas or electrical work.
- Submit your application through eBuild or in-person at City Hall. The City will review your application to ensure it meets all building, heritage, zoning, landscaping, engineering, environmental, disposal, assessment, open space and utility regulations and/or bylaws.
Once your application is approved, you will receive an email advising you of the permit fee (be sure to check your junk mail folder). Payment can be made online for eBuild customers, over the phone, or at the permit counter on the main floor of City Hall. Please note, the permit is not issued until you have paid the fee. Once issued, the applicable permits and approved drawings will be sent to you via email.
Residential: New/addition of backyard suite (cost /m2)
$9 /m2, $100 minimum
Residential: Backyard suite conversion/alteration
$8 /$1,000 value, $100 minimum
We aim to process backyard suite permits within 10 business days.
Construction cannot begin until the permit is issued. If work starts prior to issuing of a building permit, you will be subject to a surcharge.
In the core and certain inner city areas, backyard suites are eligible for a 25% tax exemption for 5 years, provided that the unit is used for long-term rental purposes (i.e., not an Airbnb and not for commercial or personal use). Learn more about our Housing Incentives Program.
Frequently Asked Questions
What are the benefits of Backyard Suites?
Backyard Suites offer a number of benefits:
- More privacy and light than Secondary Suites
- Create diverse housing options, allowing downsizers to stay in the neighbourhood or multigenerational families to live at the same address (for example, a senior couple can age-in-place by moving into a Backyard Suite. The principal residence can be occupied by their children and family or be rented out for additional income.)
- Provide extra income as rental or short-term accommodation
- Foster complete communities, efficient use of infrastructure and services, and financial and environmental sustainability for the community
- New residents are new customers of local businesses
- With more eyes on the street, there is increased safety in laneways
What’s the difference between a Backyard Suite and an accessory building used as a home office, gym, or craft room?
The definition for Backyard Suite uses the term ‘self-contained unit,’ which means it has its own amenities like a bathroom and kitchen. It will also need its own entrance.
Can I have both a Secondary Suite and a Backyard Suite?
No. At this time, administration has not conducted enough research to determine the impact of three dwelling units on a lot compared to the current proposal of two. Permitting three units on a residential lot may require a significant change to the intention of several of our Residential Zones that are currently limited to two units per lot (RN, RU, R1).
Have the regulations changed for garages and sheds that aren’t Backyard Suites?
Yes, property owners can now build garages and sheds (accessory buildings) that are 80 square metres in the area instead of the 75 square metres permitted previously. However, the space will add to the floor area of the main house and must still follow the rules on maximum area, setbacks, etc.
Do I need my neighbour’s permission to build a Backyard Suite?
The Zoning Bylaw regulates Backyard Suites as a permitted use in Residential zones that allow Secondary Suites. This means it can be developed as a ‘use by right’ provided it is consistent with the applicable rules of the City’s Zoning Bylaw and other regulatory documents.
Can I rent out my Backyard Suite? What about using it for short-term rentals?
Yes, you can use your Backyard Suite as a rental property or host guests as short-term accommodation. Check both City and provincial rules on these uses.
Will a Backyard Suite have its own address and mailbox?
A Backyard Suite will have its own address and mailbox located near the primary dwelling’s mailbox.
Are there regulations for the placement of recycling and waste bins?
The Zoning Bylaw does not regulate storage areas for garbage or recycling on residential lots with up to three dwelling units. However, the City encourages Backyard Suite designs to screen spaces for recycling and waste.
How do the regulations mitigate impacts on sunlight or privacy?
The maximum permitted building height for an accessory building with a Backyard Suite is 5.8 metres; it is one of the shortest in Canada. This limit was developed through consultations with the community in 2016, which resulted in guidelines prepared by a consultant and eventually became a bylaw for the infill pilot project. Additional side and rear yard setbacks for a second storey or any portion taller than 4 metres are in place to allow for sunlight and increased privacy.
What are the servicing requirements for Backyard Suites?
Backyard Suites require servicing to be extended from the primary dwelling through the shared yard. A new tie-in will not be permitted.
Your water and sewer line may have to be upgraded to meet the City’s Design Standards for water and wastewater and National Plumbing Code. Speak with your project engineer to determine your needs.
The developer of a Backyard Suite bears any required infrastructure upgrade costs.
What incentives are available for Backyard Suites?
Backyard Suites are eligible to have the same incentives as those for Secondary Suites. Refer to the City’s Housing Incentives Policy for more information.
Additionally, Backyard Suites would permit on-site living while a heritage property is undergoing preservation and modernization work. Grants and tax exemptions under the heritage rehabilitation program would reduce the overall cost of a project that includes the rehabilitation of a heritage property and may include a Backyard Suite. Further discussion with the City may be required in the specific case of a heritage property.