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  • Adding a second suite or unit to an existing house

    Adding a second suite or unit to an existing house

    Posted: Monday November 21, 2022

    A secondary unit is a self contained dwelling unit within an existing house that contains a private kitchen, bathroom facilities, and sleeping area. Secondary Units are a good way to generate income from your property, make a separate space for a family member, and increase the local rental supply.

    Before you plan too far ahead, be sure to stop by and talk with Planning staff in the City of Brockville. They can advise you on important considerations such as set backs from property lines, parking considerations, zoning conditions, and other things you will want to verify before you start your project. There are also important fire separation and safety requirements outlined by the Ontario Building Code and our Building department can answer questions and set you on the path to success.

    The Ontario Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing has produced a reference guide on ‘Adding a Second Unit in an Existing House’ to help you understand all of the key requirements that you will need to meet in order to add a legal second unit.

    Second Suite Dwelling in Existing Dwellings

    Excerpts from Zoning Bylaw 050-2104, as amended, and Bill 23:

    Part 1.0: Applicable Policy

    On October 25, 2022, the Ontario government tabled Bill 23, the More Homes Built Faster Act, 2022 which received Royal Assent on November 28, 2022. This Bill included changes to the Planning Act to include the following for existing single detached, semi detached, and townhouse dwellings with full municipal water and sewage services:

    • A maximum of 2 residential units are permitted in the main residential building when there is a maximum of 1 residential unit in a detached accessory building (Garden Suite).
      • 1 legal parking space is required to be provided and maintained in connection with each residential unit.


    • A maximum of 3 residential units in the main residential building when there are no residential units in a detached accessory building.
      • 1 legal parking space is required to be provided and maintained in connection with each residential unit.

    Part 2.0: Garden Suites, Subsection 3.41 (excerpts)

    Due to the changes through Bill 23, in addition to the requirements listed above, below are the specific requirements that would pertain to Garden Suites that are applicable in the Zoning Bylaw:

    Notwithstanding any other provisions of this Bylaw, where garden suite is permitted by this Bylaw, it shall be in accordance with the following provisions:

    1. Notwithstanding any other provision of this Bylaw, the maximum height of any garden suite shall be 4.0 metres.
    2. A Garden Suite structure shall conform to the Accessory Building requirements outlined in Section 3.3 which include the following:
      • Minimum Required Setback to Property Line and main building: 1.2 metres
      • Maximum Lot Coverage Permitted of accessory buildings: 15%
      • No accessory structure is permitted in any yard other than an interior side or rear yard.

    Part 3.0: General Provisions, Subsection 3.34(b)

    Parking Space, Area and Driveway Requirements: a legal parking space shall be 2.75 metres by 5.5 metres.

    Secondary Suite Funding Programs in Leeds and Grenville

    As an initiative to increase the supply of affordable rental housing for low income households in Leeds and Grenville, the United Counties of Leeds and Grenville has introduced two Secondary Suite Programs for Brockville and Leeds and Grenville.

    The two types of Secondary Suite Programs are:

    1. The Ontario Priorities Housing Initiative Secondary Suite Program, which targets the creation of a rental unit for low income households, at a person’s sole and principal residence.
    1. Leeds and Grenville Landlord Secondary Suite Program is accessible to small landlords, and targets the creation of rental units in a property for low income households, that is not the landlord’s sole and principle residence, and the applicant can own another property.

    The fact sheets outline the programs, and we encourage you to share the attached Applications with interested persons. More information can be found at https://www.leedsgrenville.com/en/services/secondary-suites-programs.aspx.

    United Counties of Leeds Grenville

    25 Central Ave W Suite 200

    Brockville ON, K6V 4N6

    613-342-3840 ext 2328

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