Second Suites
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Second Suites: So, you want to build a Second Suite?

A Second Suite is a self-contained apartment in a single, semi-detached or row house. Most second suites are basement apartments, but they can be in any part of the house, including the attic. They can also be referred to as “accessory apartments”, “granny flats” or “in-law suites”.

On July 6, 2000 the City of Toronto’s new second suites bylaw (493-2000) came into effect. The bylaw permits second suites in all single-detached and semi-detached houses throughout the City with certain conditions.

Some conditions include:

  • The second suite must be self-contained with its own kitchen and bathroom;
  • Your house, including any additions, must be at least five years old;
  • The floor area of the second suite must be smaller than the remaining part of the house;
  • Most often, a home with a second suite must have at least two parking spaces;
  • All new second suites must comply with the Ontario Building Code and zoning bylaws, and have a building permit; and
  • All existing second suites must comply with the Fire Code, zoning and property standards.

Discuss any planned changes to the outside appearance of your house first with City Buildings staff. Where your zoning requires more than one parking space, parking spaces can be in tandem (one behind the other). In most of the former City of Toronto, just one parking space is required for a house with a second suite.

When you know you want to build a second suite and that in doing so, you will change the dimensions of your house; you will need a building permit. Prepare yourself to embark on a bureaucratic form-filling and form-filing process.


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