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Adding a Second Suite

Thinking of constructing and registering a second suite in your home? Before you start, here is a guide to help you through the project.

Second Suites are self-contained units with a kitchen and bathroom within homes or converted detached garages. They are often used as a rental property and must be registered with the City. Living in a secondary suite is an attractive and affordable housing option for many residents.

Second Suites Built After 1996

If your Second Suite was built after 1996 or had yet to be built, you must ensure you have the proper Building Permits and inspections before applying to register your Second Suite.

Building Permit & Inspections

If your Second Suite was built after 1996, or is yet to be built, the following steps must be carried out:

  1. Visit Service Barrie (1st floor, 70 Collier Street) to confirm a Second Suite is a permitted use on your property. Tip: if  possible, take all completed applications and supporting documents from steps 2-4 to the same visit
  2. Complete the Building Permit Application
  3. Complete the Schedule 1: Designer Information
  4. Ensure you have all documentation listed in the Two-Unit Building Application Checklist

Take all listed applications and documentation to Service Barrie (1st floor, 70 Collier Street) for submission.

Once your application has been reviewed and your permit has been issued you can begin construction, ensuring that you call for the required inspections as noted in your permit documents. After all of the required inspections have been completed you may complete the Two Unit Registration Application. 

Register your Second Suite

Complete the Two Unit Registration Application and submit it with required supporting documents to Service Barrie for review (1st floor, 70 Collier Street). 

Put your application on the Fast Track! If your application meets the Two Unit Rapid Plan Review requirements, you may qualify for the Rapid Review Fast TrackThrough Rapid Review the application process is streamlined so home owners receive one coordinated review, and if required, a coordinated site visit. 

Second Suites Built Before 1996

If your Second Suite was built prior to 1996, complete the Two Unit Registration Application, and take it and all required supporting documents to Service Barrie for review (1st floor, 70 Collier Street). Inspections will be completed on your property, after which you will receive a Fire & Property Standards Report after the inspection. 

If everything is up to code, your property will receive a Registration Certificate.

If there are elements not up to code, you will require a Building Permit to complete the changes required by the Fire Code and/or Property Standards:

  • Complete the Building Permit Application and take it, along with a copy of the Fire & Property Standards Report and 2 copies of drawing showing the remedial construction required to meet he Fire Code and/or Property Standards, to Service Barrie for review (1st floor, 70 Collier Street). 

  • Once your Building Permit has been issued you can begin construction, ensuring that you call for the required inspections as noted in your permit documents.
  • You will receive a Fire & Property Standards Report showing all elements are to code in order to receive your Registration Certificate.

Frequently Asked Questions

What are second suites?

Second Suites are second dwelling units located on one property typically found in basements of single dwelling units. A Second Suite can also be located in detached garages that have been converted into a dwelling unit.

Why is the City permitting them?

The Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act requires that municipalities across Ontario amend their planning documents to facilitate the creation of second suites. Second suites provide a form of affordable housing and help owners defray the cost of home ownership.

Second suites provide a form of affordable housing which is relatively simple to implement. Second suites will assist the City in increasing the vacancy rate to healthy standard while providing individuals defray the cost of home ownership.

Why not in the Georgian College area?

The City has an Incentive program to help facilitate purpose built student housing in the Georgian College area specifically to mitigate the impact of students in established neighbourhoods and to ensure that dedicated student housing is provided which is safe, clean and properly administered by a property management specialist. Allowing second suites would undermine these efforts and exacerbate the existing issues in the area.

What does "grandfathering" mean and how can I find out if my property is grandfathered?

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).

How will second suites be enforced?

Generally second suites are enforced upon receipt of a complaint however pending the availability of staff resources, staff will also review rental advertisements both online and in printed media format.

What are the design standards?

Zoning bylaw standards for a second suite when contained in the principal dwelling shall have a  maximum of 2 bedrooms, provide a parking space, meet entrance requirements to the second suite and that only one second suite be permitted per lot.

Should the second suite be located in a detached accessory structure (garage) the second suite shall be connected to full municipal services, not exceed 50m2 in coverage, meet accessory structure location standards and provide a parking space.

Disclaimer: The information on this page is meant for guiding purposes only. Individual home renovation projects vary in scope and may require additional steps to ensure proper completion. It is the responsibility of the applicant to ensure work conforms to any restrictive covenants, caveats or other restrictions that are registered on the land title. The information above has no legal status and cannot be used as an official interpretation of the various bylaws, codes and regulations currently in effect. The City of Barrie accepts no responsibility to persons relying solely on this information. Web pages are updated periodically.​​​​

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