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Calgarians find residential real estate solution for aging mother

As people continue to live longer lives, many aging parents are looking to their children to help them remain independent. A full-size home can be a challenge for an older person to maintain, and care facilities can be expensive, or undesirable. While in-law suites have long been popular renovation projects in homes across Canada, some Alberta families are opting for a new twist on residential real estate.

In Aug. 2016, an elderly couple moved from their home in Edmonton to live with the wife's daughter and son-in-law in Calgary. Rather than moving into the existing home, which is of modest size, they built a separate laneway house at the back of the property. The 800 square foot home is small, but comfortable, and allows easy access to their family and to local amenities. 

Advocates of 'aging in place' for seniors see this type of development as ideal for allowing seniors to retain their independence and quality of life. Infill housing makes excellent use of large, older properties, and can help keep city neighbourhoods vital. Unfortunately, few neighbourhoods have the correct zoning in place to permit this type of construction. Even in this case, although the home was built, there are still outstanding zoning and by-law issues.

Creative solutions to residential real estate problems should always be welcomed, but sometimes by-laws and other legal restrictions can get in the way. Before buying a property for the purpose of adding an infill residence, it is important to be aware of the any potential hurdles that may be waiting. A skilled Alberta real estate lawyer can advise on property suitability, and assist with any legal battles that might suddenly crop up.

Source: The Globe and Mail, "Calgary laneway house enables multi-generational laneway living", Sharon Crowther, April 26, 2017

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