Two-Unit Houses (Barrie Second Suites) & Accessory Buildings
Since January 1, 2004 the City of Barrie requires every two-unit house within the city to be registered. As part of the registration process, the City will confirm that the two-unit house is legal under the City’s Zoning By-law, and that the house complies with several health and safety regulations.
What is a Two-Unit or Secondary Suite?
On May 25, 2015, City of Barrie Council approved a policy to expand permission of second suites, or adding apartments, to existing homes. Second Suites are self-contained units with a kitchen and bathroom within homes, and must be registered with the City. The creation of a second suite involves the conversion of a single dwelling unit into a two-unit house. Living in a secondary suite is an attractive and affordable housing option for many residents. The changes to the Zoning By-law came into effect shortly after. Any second suite that was created after February 18, 2015, is subject to the by-law amendments.
Second Suites are second dwelling units located on one property typically found in basements of single dwelling units. The creation of a second suite involves the conversion of a single dwelling unit into a two-unit house. If you’re thinking of constructing and registering a second suite in your home, view the steps to add and/or register a second suite.
Why Do Two-Unit Houses Need to be Registered?
There are probably a couple thousand two-unit houses in the city. Concerned that many of these units may be illegal and/or unsafe for the occupants, the City of Barrie has adopted a by-law to require every two-unit house to be registered. Through the registration process the house will be inspected to confirm compliance with the Zoning By-law, the Building Code, the Fire Code and the Property Standards By-law.
Owning an unregistered two-unit house is a contravention of the Registration By-law.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Please do not look at a bungalow or a property that has a separate basement entrance or walk-out and assume it can be done. It’s also very important to use a local REALTOR® who knows the neighbourhoods best and expert in the area. When looking to buy, Shannon suggests that diligence is done and consider a local, investor-focused real estate agent.
DID YOU KNOW:
Having a property “Grandfathered” is possible providing meets certain criteria.
Grandfathering is a term used to allow for uses to exist without meeting all or some of the bylaw standards and provisions. To find out if your property is grandfathered, legal proof will have to be provided to Planning Services indicating the date the subject property contained a second dwelling unit (Second Suite).
To find out if your property is grandfathered, legal proof will have to be provided to Planning Services indicating the date the subject property contained a second dwelling unit (Second Suite).
DON’T TAKE THE RISK!
Do you have an illegal second suite not registered? The City of Barrie will/can take action! Here’s what they say:
Generally second suites are enforced upon receipt of a complaint however staff will also review rental advertisements both online and in printed media format.
Living in a secondary suite is an attractive and affordable housing option for many residents. The Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act required that municipalities across Ontario amend their planning documents to facilitate the creation of second suites. Second suites provide a form of affordable housing that is relatively simple to implement, and assist the City in increasing the vacancy rate to healthy standard while helping owners defray the cost of home ownership.
Detached Accessory Dwelling Units
On November 25, 2019, Council approved by-law 2019-115 that aligns with provincial policy (Bill 108) to allow detached accessory dwelling units. Detached accessory dwelling units are defined as “an accessory dwelling unit located in a detached structure on the same property, and is subordinate to, a principle unit”. Applicable standards for accessory structures apply to detached accessory dwelling units.
As per the Zoning By-law, a detached accessory dwelling unit shall be connected to full municipal services, not exceed 10% lot coverage, meet accessory structure location standards and provide a parking space.
Full credit and source: City of Barrie