Secondary Suite Legalization in Kingston, Ontario

Do you need to legalize your secondary unit in within two hours of Kingston, Ontario? If yes, this guide will help you with the process no matter how urgent it is.

The following questions are answered in this guide:

  • Why do homeowners need to legalize their secondary suites?
  • What is the legalization process in Kingston, Ontario?
  • How can you pay for secondary suite legalization?

secondary suite legalize kingston ontatio

Why do homeowners need to legalize secondary suites in Ontario?

In Ontario, secondary suites are becoming increasingly popular due to the need for extra living space. While secondary units can be an effective way of providing more housing, they must be properly legalized in order to pass inspection from your city.

Without a secondary suite being officially legalized, homeowners could find themselves in hot water with fire department, building department or planning orders to comply if a tenant or neighbour complains. This requires immediate action, so it is best if homeowners are proactive and make sure secondary suites are up to code before any problems arise. Legalizing secondary suites will provide peace of mind and ensure that homes meet local zoning regulations, building code, and fire safety requirements.

What should you do to legalize a secondary unit in Kingston, Ontario and the area?

Step 1 is to contact the House of Three team. It doesn’t matter if you have all the time in the world or just 24 hours - 2 weeks as per your compliance order from the City, we can help you either way, within two hours of Kingston. If you have an Order to Comply from the City Building Department, Fire Department or Planning Department, we will need a copy so that we can review it in advance.

Step 2 is done by us when there is a compliance order. Once a site measure is booked with our office, House of Three connects the City informing them about the progress being made, and a rough schedule to show the progress you are making towards compliance and the legalization process. That’s what the building inspector needs to know first. At the same time, House of Three can also set up a site visit with one of our regular contractors to take a look at the construction needs and have them ready to quote as soon as the design is completed.

Step 3. Our team at House of Three issues a quote for architectural design services to the homeowner. Once that quote has been approved, and a signed contract and retainer received, then House of Three will contact the City again to show progress with Compliance, and an updated project timeline. The legalization process begins here. Once the architectural design is done, the House of Three team will finalize the required documents and supply them to you to submit them to the City.  We will also answer any further questions the building department has until the building permit is issued.  The contractor will also issue you a quote for the work to be done.

Photo by She Shoots 3D Tours

How can you pay for secondary unit legalization?

There are at least 2 ways to cover the cost of secondary unit legalization in Kingston, Ontario.

1. Buy, Renovate, Refinance, Rent, Repeat*

The BRRRR method is a common term among real estate investors! Refinancing your property through a bank or mortgage company can be an excellent way to affordably access the capital needed to legalize secondary units. Secondary suite legalization tends to increase the resale value.

As such, refinancing can help pay for materials, labour costs and other expenses associated with legalizing secondary suites. Refinancing could give you the ability to make required changes quickly, with minimal upfront costs--and depending on how much equity you have in the property, you may have enough to buy your next investment property!

2. Home Equity Line Credits. HELOC*

A home equity line of credit (HELOC) provides access to important financial resources, secured by the equity in your home. Secondary suites can also be used as income when the bank calculates debt-to-income ratios, allowing better access to the equity in the home when a secondary suite is legal.

This form of revolving credit is unique in that you can borrow money, pay it back, and then borrow more as required up to a maximum credit limit. Perfect for those times when you need quick access to cash but don't want to commit to a long-term loan.

*Please contact your financial institution or advisor for up-to-date financing information.

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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.