- What is a second unit?
A second unit is a self-contained apartment consisting of a room or rooms in a detached, semi-detached or townhouse dwelling. The unit may be in any part of the house, not just the basement. Some people call these apartments granny flats, nanny suites, or accessory apartments.
A second unit has a separate means of entry (which may be through another unit), a kitchen (or cooking area) and bathroom facilities, and may be as small as a single room that contains all of these features.
- Why are second units legal now?
In 2011, the provincial government introduced changes to the Planning Act through Bill 140, the Strong Communities Through Affordable Housing Act. It requires municipalities to set up policies to permit second units in detached, semi-detached and townhouse dwellings. Brampton City Council approved new policies in April 2015, to take effect June 22, 2015.
- What are the benefits of a second unit?
Second units provide an affordable housing option for many people. The City of Brampton wants to ensure they’re safe, legal and livable. The registration process ensures that each second unit meets all requirements under the Ontario Building Code or Fire Code, Electrical Safety Authority and local Zoning By-law.
- How much will it cost to register my unit?
The one-time registration program for second units includes:
- $200 initial fee for zoning compliance (non-refundable)
- Registration fees:
- $500 – if you, as the owner, are living in the house
- $1,000 – if you, as the owner, are not living in the house
- Applicable building permit and/or fire inspection fees
- Why do I need to register my second unit with the City?
Second units provide affordable housing for many people, but need to be safe and livable. A registration system helps the City identify the location of second units and confirm that, at the time of registration, the second unit meets all health and safety requirements.
Completing the one-time registration process ensures a second unit meets all requirements under the Ontario Building Code or Fire Code, Electrical Safety Authority and local Zoning By-law.
- How long does it take to complete Registration?
You have up to 18 months from the date of application to complete the Registration process and ensure your Second Unit meets all of the mandatory requirements.
- What happens if I don't register my second unit?
Homeowners who don’t register their second unit with the City of Brampton may be subject to a fine of up to $25,000 for individuals and $50,000 for a corporation.
According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, failing to disclose your second unit may also void your home insurance policy in case of fire or other insurable situation.
- What is the process for registration?
Registration is a one-time process involving compliance with the Zoning By-law, Building Code or Fire Code, Electrical Safety Code and verification of homeowners insurance. Click here
for details on the registration process.
- How large can a second unit be?
A second unit can be up to 45 per cent of the gross floor area (GFA) of the principal/main unit. If the house is a bungalow, the second unit can be up to 75 per cent of the GFA.
- Two-storey house with basement – if the GFA of the main floor plus second floor is 2,000 square feet, the second unit can be up to 900 square feet.
- Bungalow with basement – if the GFA of the main floor is 1,000 square feet, the second unit can be up to 750 square feet.
- Do I need to provide extra parking?
- Yes. At least one additional parking space must be provided for the second unit, in addition to the required parking for the main unit. For most homes, a total of three parking spaces will be required. All parking spaces must be contained entirely within the property (not on the street or boulevard), and comply with the zoning requirements for parking space size and maximum driveway width.
- Can the entrance to my second unit be at the side or rear of my home?
Yes, as long as there is a 1.2 metre (4 foot) clear path of travel to the entrance. This is to provide safe entry/exit from the unit, and to allow access for emergency services. Access to the second unit can also be provided from inside the garage or through a common foyer inside the house.
- Do I need to have insurance in order to register my unit?
As part of the registration process, you will be required to provide verification of insurance, including the name of your insurance company and the policy number.
As a landlord, it’s important that you have proper home insurance coverage. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, if something were to happen – such as a fire in your second unit – and your insurance provider is unaware that you have a tenant living there, your policy could be voided. For more information on insurance, see the Are You a Landlord? Visit www.ibc.ca
for more information.
- I already have a second unit that was registered with the city before 1996. Do I need to register?
- Second units that have been registered under the City’s past two-unit dwelling registration program do not need to register again. These units will continue to be included on the list of registered two-unit dwellings.
- I have a second unit that was granted legal non-conforming status by the City. Do I need to register now?
- Yes. Legal non-conforming units are second units that have been proven to exist before November 16, 1995 and have continued to be used as a two-unit dwelling since that date. There are about 340 legal non-conforming units in Brampton. These units must be registered with the City and comply with the Fire Code requirements.
- How many units can I have in my house?
Only one second unit is permitted per house.
- Can I build a second unit in my detached garage or shed?
No. Second units are not permitted within accessory buildings (detached garages, sheds, etc.)
- I just bought a house that has a second unit. How do I know if it’s registered?
- The City maintains a registry listing all registered two-unit dwellings. Contact the Building Division at 905.874.2090 or visit the website at www.brampton.ca/secondunits to determine if the property is registered.
- I have a second unit in my home, but I want to get rid of it and convert my home back to a single-family dwelling. What do I need to do?
If you do not propose any construction (removal of walls, plumbing fixtures, etc.) there is no prohibition on using registered two-unit dwelling as a single unit.
If your proposal includes reconfiguring the space by removing walls, rooms, plumbing or electrical fixtures to convert a registered two-unit dwelling back into a single unit, then a building permit is required and the property will be removed from the Two-Unit Dwelling Registry.
- How can I obtain technical assistance?
Technical support is available during regular business hours (Monday to Friday between 8:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.) by calling 311 or 905.874.2000.