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Living in a secondary suite in a residential home is an attractive and affordable housing option for many Kingstonians. As one of its efforts to help increase the availability of affordable housing, the City has made policy and regulatory changes to encourage the development of second residential units – an option that can help support the affordable housing needs of homeowners as well as their tenants. Recent Official Plan and Zoning Bylaw Amendments now permit second residential units in certain areas of the City.

Find out more about the City's second residential unit Affordable Housing Grant Program.

Second Residential Units made easy

This page is intended to provide a one-stop source for information related to the development of a legal second residential unit within the City of Kingston. Be sure to consult the following guides which have been developed to assist homeowners interested in developing a second residential unit.


Starting to plan your project

The first step in planning your second residential unit is to ensure your property complies with the requirements of the zoning bylaw. A Zoning Checklist Form is provided to assist you in determining if your property meets the zoning requirements. If your property complies with the zoning bylaw, the next step is to complete and submit a Building Permit application. Be sure to consult the Second Residential Unit Building Permit Guide for additional information to help you prepare a complete application. If your property does not comply with the zoning requirements, the Guide to Developing a Second Residential Unit within the City provides additional information.

Depending on if you are creating a new second residential unit or if you are seeking to legalize an existing second residential unit, there are two slightly different approaches to go about it. The following flowcharts illustrate the steps involved in each process:


Click on the map above to view the Planning and Development Map
and select the second residential unit tab.


Second Residential Unit Affordable Housing Grant Program

The City is offering the Second Residential Unit Affordable Housing Grant Program to stimulate homeowner investment to create alternate housing options within the City.

To complement existing affordable housing programs available within the City, the grant program is now being offered to allow homeowners to participate in the creation of additional modestly priced rental housing within the City.

Participants of the program must commit to renting the suite:

  1. at an affordable rate for an agreed upon period of time, and
  2. to a household that meets certain household income criteria

Provided these two requirements are met, there are no other conditions or requirements on who can rent the suite. For additional information, including how to apply and program requirements review the program guideline.

The program includes two different funding streams:

  1. Second Residential Unit Municipal Fee Rebate – this stream provides a forgivable loan for projects within areas of the City where Planning applications are required to permit a second residential unit. Eligible expenses include required municipal application fees of up to a maximum $7,000. Forgiveness of the loan is dependent on providing the unit at an affordable rental rate to an income qualified household for a minimum one year affordability period.
  2. Second Residential Unit Affordable Housing Grants – this stream provides a forgivable loan of the lesser of $15,000 or 75% of the costs associated with developing a second residential unit. Funding will be provided to owner-occupied households who create a second residential unit and commit to providing the unit at an affordable rental rate to an income qualified household for a minimum five year affordability period.

Developing affordable housing is one of the City's top six priorities outlined in the Corporate Strategic Plan.


Building a Green Second Residential Unit

The City is committed to developing as a sustainable community. Your second residential unit helps to achieve this goal by making efficient use of infrastructure and community amenities, providing alternative housing formats and affordable housing options, supporting transit services, amongst other community benefits. The following resources provide tips to improve the energy efficiency of your home and second residential unit: