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Basement or In-House Apartments

Affordable housing

If you are looking for affordable rental accommodation, the Region of Durham's website provides information on housing options available within the Region’s eight area municipalities, including Clarington.

What is an apartment-in-house?

An apartment-in-house, also known as an accessory apartment, is a second dwelling unit in a single or semi-detached house. While permitted by the Zoning By-law, they must be registered with the Municipality to be considered legal.

Register an apartment-in-house

Before you apply to register your apartment-in-house, please ensure your apartment-in-house has had the appropriate inspections and meets the criteria identified below. If the apartment-in-house does not meet the criteria, the Planning and Development Services Department may not issue a Certificate of Registration

 Apartments-in-house built before July 14, 1994
  • An inspection must be completed to ensure compliance with the Ontario Fire Code.
  • If the unit passes inspection, a compliance letter will be forwarded to the Planning and Development Services Department. If upgrades or renovations are needed, the Building Division will determine if a building permit is required. It is the applicant’s responsibility to apply for a building permit and ensure all the requirements are met to satisfy the building permit approval process.
  • The applicant must apply online to register the apartment-in-house and pay the apartment-in-house registration fee.
Apartments-in-house built after July 14, 1994, or new apartments-in-house
  • The apartment-in-house must meet the requirements of the Ontario Building Code. It is the applicant’s responsibility to apply for a building permit and ensure all the requirements are met to satisfy the building permit approval process.
  • The applicant must contacted the Planning and Development Services Department to advise staff that the building permit approvals process has been met.
  • The applicant must apply online to register the apartment-in-house and pay the apartment-in-house registration fee.

To begin the process of legalizing and registering a secondary suite or apartment-in-house, please submit an application to the Planning and Development Services Department.

A complete application includes the following drawings with dimensions:

  • A floor plan of the main dwelling
  • A floor plan of the apartment-in-house
  • A site plan showing parking spaces on the property

Drawings may be hand-drawn, but must be neat and show dimensions.

Apartment-In-House Registration Form

Zoning requirements

The Planning Department ensures that every apartment-in-house meets the requirements set out in Zoning By-law 84-63, including:

  • The property must be located in an Urban Residential zone: R1, R2 or R3, including most exception zones, except in Orono. View our interactive map to check the zoning on any property in Clarington.
  • The main residence must be a single or semi-detached dwelling. An apartment-in-house is not permitted in a townhouse, unless the apartment existed before November 16, 1995.
  • The floor area of the apartment-in-house must be at least 40 square metres (430 square feet).
  • The entrance to the apartment-in-house should be from a side or rear door, or through a common front door.
  • There must be a total of three parking spaces. One of the three spaces can be provided in a garage, and at least two spaces must be outdoor (on the driveway). The minimum size of a parking space is 5.7 by 2.75 metres. If two spaces are side-by-side, the combined width may be reduced to a minimum of 4.6 metres wide. Tandem parking (one space in front of another) is permitted. Parking spaces cannot be located in the boulevard or on a sidewalk.

Dwelling requirements

Staff from the Building Division process building permit applications and ensure the apartment-in-house is inspected and conforms to the Ontario Building Code. Generally, this means confirming the presence of egress windows, fire separation, and consideration of other safety issues.

An inspection is required before the apartment-in-house can be legalized and registered.

For information on building code requirements and how to obtain a building permit, please contact Building Division at 905-623-3379 ext. 2310.

Obtaining a certificate

Once the building work and inspections are complete, the applicant must contact the Planning Department to let us know. The Building Division will confirm that the inspections are complete, and then the Planning and Development Services Department can issue the certificate.

Contact(s)

Planning Services
40 Temperance Street
Bowmanville, ON L1C 3A6
Map this Location
T. 905-623-3379 ext. 2405
F. 905-623-0830

Planning Enquiry Form


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