What is an Accessory Dwelling?

An Accessory Dwelling Unit (ADU) is a self-contained unit that includes a kitchen, bathroom, and sleeping area. While commonly referred to as a “basement apartment,” ADUs can be located on any floor or even outside of the main house. However, the regulations governing ADUs vary from city to city, and compliance with both the zoning by-law and the Ontario Building Code is required to add one to a property.

A zoning by-law defines what is allowed and not allowed on a piece of land, including rules for how construction can be done, as governed by the Ontario Building Code. The rules and restrictions for ADUs are set out in each city’s zoning by-law, which may even use a different name for them. As such, it’s important to research and understand the specific requirements and limitations for ADUs in your area before proceeding with any renovations.

It’s also worth noting that different programs and grants may be available to support the creation of ADUs, depending on your location and specific circumstances. It’s recommended to check with your local government or a professional in the field for more information.

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