When it is a Duplex with an Illegal Third Unit.

We see these buildings throughout the city of Ottawa. Some landlord owners of a duplexed property will take it upon themselves to build a third apartment, usually in the basement.

I’ve seen these places that clearly do not meet building code; ie. Stair cases too narrow or ceilings too low.

Many illegal triplex buildings fail to meet fire code as well; ie.

  • Windows of insufficient size to provide a second means of egress
  • or they have those acoustic panel drop ceilings instead of 5/8 of an inch thick drywall.

Some of these places will never be legal triplex buildings.

  • The zoning may not allow it.
  • The lot may not have the required minimum square footage.
  • There may not be enough parking.

So if you’re a landlord, I guess you’re out of luck and will never have that extra third unit to generate an additional $1,000 per month rent!  Right?  Wrong!

The City of Ottawa has a program in which almost any single family home is permitted to build a legal apartment termed a Secondary Dwelling Unit

This program applies to duplex properties as well, to be allowed to legally add a third unit. So maybe you don’t have zoning, size or parking, but you can still build that extra apartment. For more detailed information, go to the City of Ottawa web site and enter the search term Secondary Dwelling Unit.

A statement from that site is below:

A secondary dwelling unit is permitted in any detached, linked-detached, semi-detached or duplex dwelling, in any zone where that dwelling type is a listed permitted use provided.

Just make sure that you obtain the necessary permits because that additional apartment does need to meet building and fire code

So if you comply with that, you will have that extra revenue source as well as increasing the value of your building.

If you want to read the most recent update about Secondary Dwellings with a video, go check out an updated blog post.