A secondary unit is a separate unit in a home, which can be a nanny suite, an in-law suite or an apartment within any detached, semi-detached, or townhome. If it has a separate entrance, a kitchen a bathroom, and a living space, it qualifies as a secondary unit. For the suite to be legal, you must meet the zoning requirements, get electrical and fire inspections and then apply for a licence.
If you currently have a secondary unit in your home, whether or not you are renting it, if someone lives there it must be licensed. Should the City suspect that there is a secondary unit in your home, they do have the authority to enter your home to establish compliance with the by-law. If you do not have a licence, there will be penalties, and probably “cease and desist” orders.
The zoning conditions are fairly simple: you must provide a parking space on the property without adding an additional driveway (i.e. you have to give the tenant a portion of the existing driveway), entrances cannot be added which face the street, and side entrances must allow clearance of 1.5 m.
The more difficult part of the process is ensuring the unit meets current building code requirements (if retrofit was done after 1994) and can pass the fire and electrical inspections. Since the inspections must be done within 30 days of applying for the licence, make sure you have already requested a Certificate of Occupancy from the City before proceeding with the inspections.
For more information on the by-law and the process for applying for a Second Unit Licence, visit mississauga.ca/secondunits
*Please note this article was originally published in the Spring 2014 edition of The Rockwood Times.