One of the common-sense requirements Mayor Naheed Nenshi says are needed for the legalization of secondary suites is ample parking. ((CBC))

Mayor Naheed Nenshi wants to legalize secondary suites across Calgary, provided they meet three criteria.

"You gotta have parking, which I would waive if you're right near an LRT or BRT station, you've gotta meet all the provincial fire and safety codes, of course, and the owner has to live there."

Creating common-sense rules for secondary suites, which are not allowed in some parts of Calgary and are subject to rezoning in other areas, was a key promise during the fall election campaign, Nenshi said.

His proposal is expected to meet opposition from city council, but housing advocates say the change will improve public safety.

"Suites are already being rented, we all know that, but they're not regulated," said Fariborz Birjandian, executive director of the Calgary Catholic Immigration Society, which helps newcomers to Canada get settled in the city.

"If you put a package, you put a system in place, that people know that they can do the upgrade and maybe raise this rent a little bit … that may solve some of the issues that we are facing at this point."