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Second Suites

This page includes information about additional residential units: second suites and detached accessory dwelling units (a type of second suite).

Building a Second Suite

Building permits give legal permission to begin construction, subject to other required municipal approvals. See Building a Second Suite or Building a Secondary Dwelling.

Registering a Second Suite

​The City's Second Suite Registration By-law (formerly the Two-Unit House Registration By-law) requires all second suites to be registered with the City, including detached accessory dwelling units. ​​A registered second suite advises all City departments and other agencies that there are two separate units on the property.

View all registered second suites in Barrie via Discover Barrie's Planning and Development map. If you note a second suite that is not registered please contact Service Barrie at 705-726-4242 or Service.Barrie@barrie.ca.

 How to Register a Second Suite 
New Second Suites

Registration of all new second ​suites is automatically included in the Building Permit or Change of use Permit Process. Related pages:

Second Suites Created Before July 14, 1994

​To register a second suite that meets requirements for "grandfathering" under the Residents' Rights Act, 1994 (Bill 120 and O.Reg 384/94) please submit a completed Application to Register a Second Suite to Development Services.

  • The registration process will include inspections by Property Standards and the Fire Department to ensure the units are safe.
  • If any deficiencies are found in these inspections, a Building Permit may be needed to complete any work required.​​
Once the units have successfully passed all inspections it will be registered.

To check whether a second suite was legally created and is already registered, please see the Planning & Development   registered second suites tab on Discover Barrie's Planning and Development map. 

If you note a two-unit property that is not registered, please contact Development Services via Service Barrie, 705-726-4242 or Service.Barrie@barrie.ca.​

About Additional Residential Units

Ontario's Planning Act requires municipalities ​to authorize the creation of additional residential units by allowing:

  • ​​​The use of two residential units in a detached house, semi-detached house, or row townhouse; and
  • ​​The use of a residential unit in a building or structure accessory to one of the above housing types.

The City's Comprehensive Zoning By-law allows the creation of two types of additional residential units, subject to meeting applicable zoning requirements: second suites and detached accessory dwelling units.

A property can contain a maximum of one second suite inside a dwelling and one detached accessory dwelling unit, provided all zoning requirements can be met. Additional residential units may be exempt from Development Charges.

Second Suites 
Definition   

Second Suite: An accessory dwelling unit that is within the principal structure on a property and is subordinate to the principal unit.

A second suite is a self-contained unit with a kitchen, bathroom, living area and sleeping area within the primary house on a property.

Examples:

  • basement apartments
  • apartments at grade or on upper levels of existing homes
  • apartments above attached garages
  • conversion of space within an existing house
  • additions to existing homes
  • new homes designed with two units
Zoning Design Standards

Zoning By-law standards for second suites are in Section 5.2.9 and include:

  • must have a minimum gross floor area (GFA) of 35m2
  • must provide one parking space per dwelling unit (one for the main dwelling, one for the second suite)
  • The second suite must be smaller in size than the primary dwelling unit
Building Code Standards

Compliance with the Ontario Building Code is required. If you are thinking of constructing a second suite in your home, please refer to Building a Second Suite.

Legalizing an Existing Second Suite

Second suites that meet ALL of the following requirements may be eligible for “grandfathering" under the Residents' Rights Act, 1994 (Bill 120 and O.Reg 384/94):

  • Second suite was created and used or occupied before July 14, 1994;
  • Second suite has been in continuous use ever since; and
  • Owner has legal proof, through an affidavit and supporting documentation, demonstrating the above.

If you meet the above criteria, please contact Development Services (Planning) for more details at  PlannerOfTheDay@barrie.ca

All other existing second suites that were created without a Building Permit or a Change of Use Permit must meet the current Zoning By-law and Ontario Building Code standards.​

Detached Accessory Dwelling Units
A specific type of second suite
Definition

Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit: a specific type of second suite, which is located in a detached structure on the same property as, and is subordinate to, a principal unit. The Building Department also refers to these as “Secondary Dwellings."

Examples:

  • Garden suites or granny flats
  • Laneway houses
  • Coach houses
  • Standalone secondary dwellings that are smaller than the main dwelling, including tiny homes
  • Dwelling units attached to or above accessory buildings/structures, such as detached garages or sheds.

A detached accessory dwelling unit can only contain one residential unit.

Zoning Design Standards

Zoning By-law standards for detached accessory dwelling units (Section 5.2.9) include:

  • must have a minimum gross floor area (GFA) of 35m2
  • must provide one parking space per dwelling unit (i.e. one for main dwelling, one for the second suite)
  • must not exceed a height of 4m (measured from average finished grade to the highest point of a flat roof, deck line of a mansard roof, and midpoint between the ease and ridge for all other styles).
  • must be connected to full municipal services
  • must not exceed 10% lot coverage
  • must meet accessory building standards in Sections 4.5.1, 4.5.2 and 5.3.5
Building Code Standards

Compliance with the Ontario Building Code is required. If you are thinking of constructing a secondary dwelling, please refer to Building a Secondary Dwelling.

Legalizing a Detached Accessory Dwelling Unit

Detached Accessory Dwelling Units that were created without a Building Permit or a Change of Use Permit must meet today's Zoning By-law and Ontario Building Code standards.​ Please email PlannerOfTheDay@barrie.ca with any specific questions regarding your property.

Affordability

Living in a second suite or detached accessory dwelling unit can be an attractive and affordable housing​ option for many residents. The More Homes, More Choices Act, 2019 required that municipalities across Ontario amend their planning documents to facilitate the creation of additional residential units in existing homes and accessory structures. This is a form of affordable housing that is relatively simple to implement and assists the City in increasing the vacancy rate to a healthy standard while helping owners defray the cost of home ownership. 

The County of Simcoe Secondary Suites Program provides funding of up to $30,000 per unit for the creation of an affordable secondary suite or detached accessory dwelling unit. For more details or to apply, please contact the County of Simcoe Social Housing Department. ​






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