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Basement or In-House Apartment

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What is an in-house apartment?

An in-house apartment is a second dwelling unit within an allowed single detached, semi-detached or link house. It may be used by one or more people and will have sanitary facilities, a kitchen and heat. It will have a private entrance from outside the building or from a common hallway or stairway inside the building

In-house apartments can be built in a single detached, semi-detached or link house in an urban area if the apartment meets the standard of the Ontario Fire Code and/or Ontario Building Code. As an owner, you must also meet various zoning standards including providing parking space(s) for the apartment.

All in-house apartments must be registered. We will inspect these apartments to ensure they meet safety and zoning standards. If your apartment meets all of the standards, you will be issued a Certificate of Registration. Existing in-house apartments that are not registered are illegal.

What regulations apply to existing in-house apartments?

When the Apartment-in-House By-law was first enacted, Council gave all owners a 14-month grace period, to come forward and register their in-house apartments located anywhere in the Municipality, provided the in-house apartments complied with the Fire Code and Building Code standards.

We will not penalize new homeowners for purchasing a dwelling with an existing illegal in-house apartment. However, you have one year from the date you purchase your home to come forward and apply to register your in-house apartment.

You cannot register an existing in-house apartment that does not meet the zoning by-law requirements unless:

  • You submit a rezoning application and it is approved by Council
  • You submit a minor variance and it is approved by the Committee of Adjustment
  • The existing in-house apartment and the site upon which it exists are altered to meet the zoning by-law requirements for in-house apartments.

If you are unsuccessful in meeting the zoning by-law requirements, you will have to remove the illegal in-house apartment. If you do not remove the illegal unit and the Municipality receives a complaint, a charge can be made against you.

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.

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