Building a Legal Suite Makes Sense in and Around Edmonton

Are you thinking about converting your basement, or part of your home, into a legal suite? 

Or maybe you’re considering a garden suite?  

It’s been a challenging time in Edmonton – well, throughout Alberta and the country. Households are feeling the financial crunch.  But if you’ve been raising a family in the same neighbourhood for years, you’re probably reluctant to cut your expenses by making a move.

So many communities in and around Edmonton have seen generations of families grow up on their tree-lined street.  They are close-knit, and have their character and history.

Let’s talk about the benefits of building a legal suite!  You can stay in your home, enhance your investment, and provide high-quality, affordable housing for a new neighbour or family member.

Legal suite basement kitchen
Legal Suite Hallway

5 Benefits of Building a Legal Suite in your Home

A reliable custom home builder can walk you through the pros and cons of adding a secondary or garden suite to your property, but here are some highlights.

1. Rental Income

This is the most apparent benefit.

Hiring a professional builder to create a quality basement or secondary suite is an excellent option if you’re trying to supplement your household income.  This might mean sacrificing privacy or giving up some “bonus rooms” you and your family used for hobbies, such as a “man cave” or gym. But if it’s done right, your suite will be a steady source of revenue and not interfere with the enjoyment of your home.

Maybe you’ll use the extra cash to pay down debt, save for a vehicle upgrade, or pay your mortgage more quickly.

Just make sure to research before you become a landlord. There are rules both you and your tenant will have to follow. Before entering a rental agreement or lease, you must understand them thoroughly and spell them out clearly to your potential tenant. You’ll avoid headaches down the road.

Use the resources from the Residential Tenancies Act handbook to avoid confusion or liability…even if you’re renting to a friend.

2. Resale Value

Housing prices remain stable in Edmonton, despite the downturn in the economy.

When you’re ready to downsize or leave the community, your home will have greater appeal with a secondary legal suite. It’s a steady income for the next buyer whether they plan to live in the home or rent out both living spaces.

It’s an immediate, guaranteed return on their investment.

So, unless you’re customizing your suite for a specific friend or family member, ask your builder about rental home trends. They should know what has curb appeal.

We often recommend choosing higher-end finishing – stainless steel appliances, quartz countertops, hardwood, or high-quality luxury vinyl plank flooring. Those touches will bring more value to your rental suite.

They also inspire your renters to take better care of their space – this means less wear and tear and less work for you when it comes time to prepare the suite for someone new.

Don’t forget to ask your builder about soundproofing.

It will add an expense to your construction budget. But, if you invest in quality insulation and fortified floor joists that minimize sound travelling between homes –music, voices, or footsteps on the floor –  you’ll create a more appealing living space for you and your tenants.  This will translate into greater enjoyment in the present and more excellent value when it’s time to sell in the future.

3. Provide Afforable Housing

More than ever, affordable housing is a pressing issue in large city centers like Edmonton.

Vibrant, busy communities are built with robust, varied housing options. They attract small local businesses, reduce crime, and minimize the need for cars because of their proximity to public transit and availability of services within walking distance.

Schools, clinics, banks, shops, and other public services are accessible to people on foot

Basement and garden suites create a different kind of density…one that enriches a community without adding traffic.

4. Build a Space for Mom and Dad

Were you and your parents thinking about shifting them from their home – with the big yard and the ageing plumbing and electrical – and moving them into an independent living facility?

Are you looking for something safe and secure where they can enjoy having their own space without the burden of yard work, maintenance, or preparing every meal?

It might make sense to customize a legal suite for your parents, whether you convert your home, or theirs, to have two unique living spaces.

They’d maintain their independence, and you’d be able to stay close by and assist with their daily needs: doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping, trips to the community centre, or other social activities as COVID rules permit them.

You’d both maintain your personal space, but they’d be under your roof – and you’d be secure in knowing they’re safe and well looked after.


With long-term care homes bearing the pandemic’s brunt, protecting senior family members has become more of a priority. Converting a space in your home – or renovating theirs – to accommodate their needs and yours makes excellent sense. And, as mentioned before, you’ll be enhancing your home’s value when you’re ready to sell.

5. Create a Retreat

We’re all spending more time at home

There’s nothing wrong with turning your basement into a retreat. Just think through the details so you can quickly turn that space into a source of rental revenue when your lifestyle shifts back to pre-pandemic normal.

If you’re thinking about creating a “Man/Woman Cave” and putting in a wet bar, consider spending a little more money. Install a compact and efficient kitchen with room for a refrigerator and a dishwasher.

Consider installing cupboards that can be replaced with an oven – and make sure your breaker panel has room for separate circuits for big appliances like ovens, washing machines, and dryers.

Plan ahead.

Design the rooms to suit your hobbies and family needs, but also look around those rooms and imagine someone living in that space where they would expect the outlets and light switches to be. Do you choose pot lights or track lighting? You want to minimize glare if you’re building a home theatre but will a renter enjoy a dark living room?

An excellent design-build team can guide you through those options. They can help you convert a space into your’ escape room’ without sacrificing options down the road.

Don't limit your options with your legal suite.

Timber Haus can help you make the right choices for your home renovation or garden suite.  We understand the market, the bylaws and regulations for rental suites, and the flavour of the communities we all live in and enjoy.

There are many great reasons to build a secondary or basement legal suite. Whether you’re making room for family, a professional working in downtown Edmonton or a student looking for affordable housing, your options aren’t limited.

Let us walk you through all the possibilities. Contact us, and let’s get building.

When you work with a design/build team that can give you all the options, help you weigh them, and make decisions that meet your expectations, your home-building project will be a pleasure, not a burden. Contact us, and our team will start building your perfect home.