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In Law Suites – Basement Apartments & Secondary Units Now Legal
With the exception of Rockcliffe Park, the City of Ottawa now allows secondary suites. So a home owner can build one (with a building permit) or get the city’s stamp of approval on an existing one, provided the home owner brings it up to building and fire code standards. This is often a basement apartment, but the more correct description is “secondary suite” or “secondary dwelling unit”. If not built in the basement, a secondary suite can only take up 40% of the overall upper floors. A suite can be built in a garage, and each half of a semi-detached can have its own secondary suite. Also, each (legal) duplex is allowed one secondary unit – effectively making it into a triplex. If, for example, a secondary unit occupies 40% of the upper floors and generates rental income, then 40% of expenses as such roof or furnace replacement and 40% of the city taxes can be deducted from that rental income. (Verify this, but since the secondary unit is in one’s principal residence, there may be NO capital gain upon sale).
• All of the aforementioned does not apply to a condo or row house.
• Conversions require building permits but no rezoning application is required.
The Above Information Provided by: Norm Fera, BA, MA, LL.B., Lawyer Lang Michener LLP
1. Despite any other provision in this By-law to the contrary, a secondary dwelling unit is permitted in accordance with the following:
(1) For purposes of this section or subsection, as the case may be, the following terms have the following meanings:
Detached dwelling means a building containing one principal dwelling unit only and includes fully-detached dwelling house, single family dwelling, single detached dwelling and detached house;
Semi-detached dwelling means a building containing two principal dwelling units only, divided vertically, and includes semi-detached house and linked detached house;
Duplex building means a building containing two principal dwelling units only, divided horizontally, and includes duplex house;
Principal means primary and not secondary usage of a residential building;
Dwelling unit, means a residential unit that,
consists of a self-contained set of rooms located in a building,
is used or intended for use as a residential premises,
contains kitchen and bathroom facilities that are intended to be exclusive to the unit; and
is not a mobile home or any vehicle;
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