Saskatoon landlords urge caution when building garage suites

The Saskatchewan Landlord Association is urging caution when building garage suites as they might not provide a good return given current vacancy rates. File / Global News

SASKATOON – The Saskatchewan Landlord Association says people should think carefully before building garage and garden suites. This comes on a heels of a new report tabled to a city committee that says the existing bylaw allowing garage and garden suites should be upheld.

The bylaw was first amended to allow these accessory suites in May 2014. In December 2014, the city approved its first application for one.

READ MORE: Saskatoon’s first garage suite approved

In the past, there have been concerns about these suites changing the character of established neighbourhoods, but the city says they would increase density while providing more affordable housing.

But with a vacancy rate around 6.5 per cent, the association says they may not provide as good a return on investment as thought by some. They may sit vacant, waiting for a tenant, and new suites may create more competition for tenants as well.

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“It would definitely increase the vacancy [rate],” says Chanda Lockhart, executive officer of the Saskatchewan Landlord Association. “It would cause a ripple effect for landlords and those building the suites.”

“I think they might find themselves in hard times because they might not be able to rent those suites.”

Lockhart says garden and garage suites are expensive and time consuming to build.

The association adds that it may be a good idea down the road when vacancy rates are lower.