Secondary Suites and Rooming Houses

busy downtown square

A secondary suite is a self-contained apartment with a private kitchen, bathroom and bedroom within a house. It can have its own private entrance or through a common area. You can have one secondary suite per dwelling unit (house) with a maximum of two bedrooms.

Secondary suites provide benefits such as:

  • Housing for aging family members, adult children, caregivers, etc.
  • Increased amount of rental housing available in our City
  • More affordable mortgage payments for homeowners
  • Good use of infrastructure and housing stock

Constructing a new secondary suite

You need to get a building permit to construct and recognize a secondary suite. The suite has to pass all required inspections associated with the building permit and it needs an Electrical Safety Authority inspection.

Permitted uses

Subject to compliance with Zoning By-law 1997-123, new secondary suites are permitted:

  • Within a single detached house, semi-detached house or a row/town house
  • Within a building that is accessory to one of these houses

Zoning By-law eligibility criteria

  • The main or “Principal” dwelling must be a permitted use in a residential zoning district in the City's Comprehensive Zoning By-law 1997-123
  • The property must be serviced by municipal water and sanitary sewers unless specifically permitted otherwise in the Zoning By-law
  • The suite must not be located in a floodway as defined in the Provincial Policy Statement, 2014 or any successor

Size of secondary suites

  • Minimum Floor Area: 28 square metres (301 square feet)
  • Maximum Floor Area: Less than the floor area of the Principal Dwelling
  • Maximum number of bedrooms: two

Additional zoning regulations for secondary suites located in detached accessory buildings

Additional zoning regulations for secondary suites located in detached accessory buildings
Number of principal dwelling units on lotMinimum distance to rear of principal dwellingMinimum distance from the side or rear lot lineMaximum heightMaximum combined lot coverage for all accessory buildings

1 or 2

1.2 m (3.9 ft)

0.6 m (2 ft)

4.3 m (14.1 ft)

10%

3 to 15

2.4 m (7.9 ft)

2.4 m (7.9 ft)

4.3 m (14.1 ft)

10%

Cumulative lot coverage of all accessory buildings (e.g. secondary suite, sheds and detached garages) plus coverage of the Principal Dwelling must comply with the overall lot coverage regulation of the applicable Residential Zoning District

Fire department access to secondary suites

  • An access route from a fire hydrant to a pumper vehicle plus an unobstructed path of travel for a firefighter from the vehicle to the primary entrance of a Secondary Suite must not exceed 90 metres (295 feet); and,
  • An unobstructed path of travel for a firefighter from a pumper vehicle to the primary entrance of a Secondary Suite must not exceed 45 metres (147.6 feet).
  • Where these distances can not be achieved, an alternative firefighting or access solution is required that promotes public safety to the satisfaction of the Peterborough Fire Services and the City of Peterborough Building Services Division.

Parking requirements

Parking requirements for secondary suites
Principal dwelling typeParking area 1Parking area 2Parking area 3

Single detached

1 space for principal dwelling, 0 space for suite

1 spaces for principal dwelling, 1 space for suite

2 spaces for principal dwelling, 1 space for suite

Semi-detached

1 space for principal dwelling, 0 space for suite

1 space per principal dwelling, 1 space per suite

2 spaces per principal dwelling, 1 space per suite

Row/townhouse

1 space for principal dwelling, 0 space for suite

1.5 spaces per principal dwelling, 1 space per suite

1.75 spaces per principal dwelling, 1 space per suite

 

  • Tandem parking for a secondary suite is permitted in all parking areas.
  • Where the required number of parking spaces results in a fraction, the requirement is rounded up to the nearest whole number.
  • Parking inside a garage can count toward fulfilling the required parking provided the garage interior meets the minimum parking space size requirement.

Minimum size of parking space

  • Parking area 1 – 2.5 metres (8.2 feet) by 5.5 metres (18 feet)
  • Parking area 2 – 2.5 metres (8.2 feet) by 5.5 metres (18 feet)

Parking areas map

  • Parking area 1
  • Parking area 2

Legalizing an existing suite built after November 16, 1995

To legalize a secondary suite built after November 16, 1995 you need the following:

  • The lot and suite must comply with Zoning By-law requirements
  • Have a building permit to recognize the existing construction
  • The suite muse pass all required inspections associated with the building permit and an inspection by the Electrical Safety Authority

Legalizing a suite that existed as of November 16, 1995

Suites that existed as of November 16, 1995 may be exempted from having to comply with the City's Zoning By-law regulations.

You must show the Building Division that they suite existed on November 16, 1995 by providing:

  • a declaration from a person personal knowledge of the property declaring that the house was used or occupied as two residential units on November 16, 1995
  • printed documentation establishing the suite's existence as of November 16, 1995
  • Documentation certifying the suite's compliance with the Ontario Fire Code and the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.

Lodging houses

A lodging house is a dwelling that has 5 – 30 bedrooms and is not a single house-keeping unit. A single house-keeping unit is a dwelling where the occupants live together for a short period of time and for economic reasons.

There are two types of lodging houses:

  • Small lodging house: a dwelling that contains between 5 and 10 bedrooms
  • Large dwelling house: a dwelling that contains between 11 and 30 bedrooms

Both types of lodging houses need to follow the proper zoning compliance and the property owners need to receive a Business Licence from the Clerk's Office in order to rent out the bedrooms, as per By-law 17-067.