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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‚Äôs eight area municipalities, including Clarington.

What is an apartment-in-house?

An apartment-in-house 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.

Registering an apartment-in-house

To register or legalize a secondary suite or apartment-in-house, residents must:

  1. Register the apartment with the Planning Department.
  2. Obtain a building permit from the Building Division to ensure the apartment meets the requirements of the Ontario Building Code.

The apartment-in-house and building permit applications must be submitted at the same time.

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.

To begin the process of legalizing and registering an apartment-in-house, please submit an application to the Planning 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.

The fee for the application and to register the apartment is $210. Please bring the application package and provide payment (cash, debit or cheque) to the Planning Department at 40 Temperance Street, Bowmanville.

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 Department can issue the certificate.


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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