Accessory Apartments

What is an accessory apartment?

An accessory apartment is a completely self-contained residential dwelling unit with a single family dwelling, semi-detached dwelling or townhouse dwelling. Accessory apartments are often referred to as basement apartments, second residential units, in-law suites or second suites, but the Town has decided to use the term 'Accessory Apartments'. An accessory apartment is not permitted in accessory structures such as sheds, detached garages and boathouses.

Accessory apartments must be registered with the Town to be considered legal and must comply with all applicable legislation, including the Zoning By-law provisions, Ontario's Building Code and the Ontario Fire Code. The process of complying with this legislation can vary depending on the date of establishment of the accessory apartment. 

What are the requirements?

A building permit is required for an accessory apartment, if the apartment was:

  • Established after Nov. 16, 1995 and was not created legally
  • Established before Nov. 16, 1995 and where remedial work is required as a result of a Fire Department inspection

A house that contains an accessory apartment must comply with the Ontario Building Code and Ontario Fire Code and include: 

  • Fire separations between apartments and common spaces, such as exit corridors, laundry rooms and other spaces that are accessible by both apartments
  • Exits from each apartment
  • Interconnected smoke alarms in all bedrooms and all floors in each apartment
  • Sufficient sizing of existing septic system (a house serviced by a septic system may not be allowed to have an accessory apartment unless the system can be confirmed to support the extra loads)
  • Heating and ventilation upgrades are often required

A house that contains an accessory apartment must provide a minimum of three parking spaces as follows:

  • 2 parking spaces must have direct access to a public street
  • Only 1 parking space can be located within a garage

All accessory apartments must be registered by the Registrar (Town Clerk) or person appointed by them. 

What do I need?

The permit fee for residential interior renovations is $0.84/ft

Related Resources

Accessory Apartment Guide

Contact Us

26557 Civic Centre Rd,
Keswick, ON  L4P 3G1

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