Secondary Dwellings

If you have unused basement or ground floor space and you require a secondary dwelling or living space alternative, then we can help you determine if this is a viable choice for you.

If you want to add a rental unit on your property, or would like to accommodate an aging relative, a secondary dwelling option is possible. We will consult with you to explain the possibilities, help determine the municipal requirements for permits to get issued, and design a space that fits all of your needs.

Some things to remember regarding having a secondary dwelling; according to City/municipal By-laws.

  • A secondary dwelling unit cannot exceed 40 per cent of the gross floor area of the principal dwelling. Basement units are an exception — there is no maximum size.
  • Only a finished basement can be included in the gross floor area calculation of the principal dwelling.
  • A maximum of one unit is permitted in a detached dwelling, one in each half of a semi-detached building and only one for the whole of a duplex dwelling.
  • The new unit must be on the same lot as the principal dwelling unit, must share the yards and parking areas, and must not change the streetscape character along the road on which it is located.
  • The new unit must have a separate access on the ground floor of a principal dwelling (unless building or fire codes allow something else). However, the separate access is not allowed in an exterior wall facing the front yard.
  • An internal shared lobby or entrance hall with a common entrance in the exterior wall facing the front yard
    is permitted.
  • Providing an additional parking space for the new unit is not required. If you decide to add a parking space, you must build it in compliance with the new zoning requirements.
  • Fire codes are followed to ensure proper fire separation from the primary residence.
  • Basement windows are the set standard for an emergency, and have a proper ratio of lighting.
  • Soundproof the ceiling and areas overhead.





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