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Additional Residential Units

Additional residential units are an extra dwelling unit on your property. It can be part of your existing house, like a basement apartment or separated level of the home, or an independent building on the same property. You can add a second or third unit to your home or property.

All new and existing additional residential units must comply with the Ontario Building Code and require a permit. The rules for permits are different for a new build construction unit versus renovating an existing building to create additional units. Building Officials will inspect to make sure the additional residential unit(s) in your house or on your property meet safety standards and the Ontario Building Code.

Apply online through DASH (Development and Services Hub), our online portal that gives you 24 / 7 access to planning, development, and building services and active development activity.

Plan your project

Make sure your property complies with the requirements of the zoning bylaw by reviewing our Former Zoning Bylaw map.

You can add additional residential units to most properties in Kingston, with the exception of rural properties.

Additional residential units are not permitted:

  • In any cellar or basement within the lands identified as ‘Sewer Surcharging’ and ‘Sewer Surcharging (Combined Storm and Sewer Systems)’;
  • On lands identified as ‘Sewer Capacity Limitations’;
  • On lands identified as ‘Loughborough Lake’;
  • On a lot containing two or more dwelling units, a garden suite, boarding house, or lodging house; and
  • On lands subject to natural hazards or on any lands otherwise identified as a natural hazards area through a site-specific investigation or analysis.

To construct or legalize an additional residential unit on a property that is located within the areas noted above you may need an individual analysis. You may require a site-specific zoning bylaw amendment.

Note: To establish an additional residential unit in areas identified as ‘Water Supply/Water Quantity’ and ‘Servicing Capacity (Cana Subdivision)’, you must apply for the removal of a holding symbol.

The gross floor area of a second residential unit can be equal to or less than that of the principal dwelling.

According to the zoning bylaw, gross floor area includes the total area of each floor, whether above or below grade, as well as finished attic space. This measurement is taken between the outside of the exterior walls or between the exterior walls and the center line of party walls dividing the building from another. However, it excludes: open porches, balconies and attached garages for vehicle storage.

An additional residential unit requires at least one parking space that can be provided in a tandem (one vehicle behind the other) arrangement.​​​​​​​

You must provide safe entrance and exit in accordance with the requirements of the Building Code.

Owners are required to legalize additional units to ensure the unit meets the appropriate Building Code requirements.

Be aware that renovations may be required to bring the dwelling up to zoning and Building Code compliance. An inspection conducted by a Building Inspector will determine any existing deficiencies and any required renovations to meet the requirements.

We will assign a new unit number to assist emergency services, home delivery, and mail services according to the building permitting and zoning review process, to recognize your additional residential unit

Owners of additional residential units must adhere to the responsibilities outlined within the Residential Tenancies Act.

Additionally, all property owners must adhere to maintenance requirements beyond the Building Code and zoning provisions, in compliance with the City's Property Standards Bylaw, which sets out standards for the reasonable upkeep and maintenance of buildings and properties, including responsibilities such as yard maintenance and snow removal.

Additional residential unit permit guide

Check out our Additional Residential Unit Permit Guide for more information on Ontario Building Code requirements, getting a building permit, and building inspections.

  1. Set up a DASH account 
  2. Prepare construction drawings such as:
    • Plot plan
    • Floor plan
    • Elevations
    • Cross section
    • Mechanical plan
  3. Completed your permit application in DASH and upload your construction drawings.
  4. Check for an email notification verifying acceptance of your application and the applicable permit fees. 
  5. Wait to hear from a building official, who will issue your permit within 10 business days or request additional information if needed. 
  6. Request your building inspection through DASH for the different stages of construction to ensure the work complies with the Ontario Building Code. A building official requires a minimum of 24-hour notice to book the inspection.

Affordable housing program 

Developing affordable housing is one of our top priorities. To encourage homeowners to consider constructing affordable additional residential units, we offer a forgivable loan program for either $15,000 or 75 per cent of the cost to create the new rental unit, whichever is less. 

Learn more about our Additional Residential Unit Affordable Housing Program.

Sustainable building

Help us actively pursue sustainability with your additional residential unit project. Here are some tips to enhance the energy efficiency of both your home and additional residential units: 

The City of Kingston acknowledges that we are on the traditional homeland of the Anishinaabe, Haudenosaunee and the Huron-Wendat, and thanks these nations for their care and stewardship over this shared land.

Today, the City is committed to working with Indigenous peoples and all residents to pursue a united path of reconciliation.

Learn more about the City's reconciliation initiatives.

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