Can I Build a Basement and Turn it into a Secondary Unit in Kingston, Ontario?

Are you a Kingston homeowner hoping to transform your home and add value through creating a secondary suite? Let's see if it's possible!


white graphic of a house with a basement on a blue background with a sentence that says "Can I build a basement and turn it into a secondary unit in Kingston, Ontario?"


In this article we are covering the following topics:

  • Where you can build a secondary suite in Kingston.
  • The rules for building a secondary unit in Kingston.
  • House requirements for a secondary unit in Kingston.
  • Parking requirements for a secondary suite in Kingston, Napanee, and Amherstview.

Secondary suites are apartments set within single-family homes, usually in the basement. They're equipped with fire separations between each unit as well as their own private or shared entrance such as a foyer leading to individual doors for every living space.


Where can you build a secondary suite in Kingston?

With Ontario's recent authorization of secondary dwellings province-wide, building your dream secondary unit may be easier than you think. However, a few key factors should still be taken into consideration—such as existing septic and well in rural areas or the potential for flooding in certain areas in Kingston. A well that is already struggling to handle 1 family will not be able to handle 2. Keeping these practicalities top of mind will ensure that project planning is done with success!


What are the rules for building a secondary unit in Kingston? 

Before embarking on any construction project, it's important to check the local zoning requirements. In Kingston for example, your house must be in an area that is pre-approved (has appropriate water and sewer services), it must have a 1.2-m sidewalk from the street to the door of each unit without affecting parking requirements; 2 parking spaces meeting the zoning requirements and bicycle parking will be necessary to pass muster with regulators. Furthermore, ensuring that there is an entry point into each unit is important. 


House requirements for a secondary unit

When planning the design of a secondary suite, there are lots of important considerations to keep in mind. Though some elements such as zoning and ceiling height may be rigid requirements that cannot be changed, other features such as windows can often easily be enlarged, or additional windows added for safety, comfort, and overall appeal. It is also strongly recommended to locate plumbing close by due to its essential role serving the kitchen-bathroom-laundry configuration; similarly, living rooms and bedrooms should have ample amounts of natural lighting/ventilation through their window placements - though this could potentially pose an issue with townhomes which often only permit rear wall openings.


Parking requirements for a secondary suite in Kingston

In Kingston specifically you'll need two 2.6m x 6m (either side by side or tandem) spaces per unit along with one weather-protected (0.6x1.8m) bicycle space - all while keeping within its 40% lot frontage limit for driveways! At the same time for those in Napanee you're likely looking at double 3mx6 m slots; whereas Belleville dwellers have 2 decent sized spots measuring 2.4 x 6 meters; Amherstview requires three impressive 3-meter-wide spaces!


Ready to check if you can add a basement?

Unlock the potential of your property by exploring if you can add a basement! is here to help with their comprehensive zoning searches and get you one step closer to creating an additional income stream.

Subscribe to our newsletter and get our updates!


House of Three is an architectural technology firm that produces BCIN-licensed, predesigned house plans, custom designs, and renovation blueprints. We create affordable, attractive, and code-compliant designs for residential homes, renovations, and rentals. Located just north of the historic limestone city of Kingston, Ontario, we work with clients from our local area and across all of Canada.