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FAQ- Secondary Suite Program Funding

How much funding can I qualify for?

  • The maximum amount of funding is $25,000.
  • Funding amount is based on the cost to create the secondary suite and amount of equity in the home.

What is a 'forgivable loan'?

  • The Secondary Suite Program funding is considered a 'forgivable loan' and is reduced at an equal rate each year until the 15th year at which time it would be $0. No payments are required or interest charged so long as the terms of the loan agreement are adhered to.

If I'm on a waiting list, can I start the work?

  • Depending on the amount of funding available, applicants may be advised that they are on a waiting list.
  • This does not mean that your application has been approved.
  • Any work completed prior to final approval is not eligible for reimbursement.

Can I own multiple properties?

  • Yes, however you need to disclose this fact when applying.  You should also let us know if you intend to own other properties within the next 15 years as there are two different funding programs;
    • County Funded Secondary Suite Program allows applicants to own multiple properties.  You can apply for funding to create up to 6 secondary suites.
    • Investment in Affordable Housing Program (funded by the Federal/Provincial Governments) requires that the applicant only own one property and be owner occupied during the 15 year term.

How do I find a contractor?

  • The County cannot recommend contractors.  An approved contractor must have liability and Workplace Safety and Insurance Bureau (WSIB) insurance;
    • Ask friends/neighbours who have had similar work done.
    • Call your local Builders Association.
    • Building supply stores.
    • Internet, Yellow Pages.

Can I do the work myself?

  • Some work can be done by the homeowner.  Only material would be eligible for reimbursement. 
  • All electrical work must be done by a qualified electrician.

What if the cost to create the secondary suite is higher than the funding amount?

  • Any costs over and above the funding amount are the responsibility of the homeowner.
  • You must pay the excess amount first from your own sources before any program funds are provided.

When the apartment is done, how soon do I have to rent it out?

  • Within two months.

Who can I rent to?

  • The unit must be rented to a tenant whose income meets program guidelines.  These amounts are indicated on the Secondary Suite application.  Contact our office for updated income limits at tenant take-up. 
  • The homeowner selects their own tenant(s).
  • The unit can be rented to family members.

Can I move into the new apartment and rent out the other part of my house?

  • No, it must be rented to a new tenant.

How much rent can I charge

  • Rent charged cannot exceed the Canada Mortgage and Housing Average Market Rent for the area for the full term of the loan (15 years).  These amounts are indicated on the Secondary Suite application.  Contact our office for updated rental amounts at tenant take-up.  Rents and are subject to change from time-to-time.

Do utilities have to be included in the rent?

  • Yes, utilities must be included in the rent (heat, hydro, water, hot water).

What if I decide not to rent out the apartment?

  • This is considered a default of the loan agreement.  The 'unforgiven' balance would become due and payable.

What happens if I decide to sell my house?

  • If you sell prior to the end of the 15 year term, the amount of loan that remains 'unforgiven' shall be due and payable.

Can I voluntarily repay the loan?

  • Yes, repayment can be made in a lump sum.  All funds returned to the Secondary Suite Program are offered to applicants on the waiting list.

Do I need a Building Permit?

  • Yes.  A building permit is required to ensure the fulfillment of life, safety and health standards mandated through the Ontario Building Code.

How much will a building permit cost?

  • Fees vary depending on scope of work, inspections required, location of secondary suite, etc.  Contact your local building department for current fee schedule.

Are there other fees/permits required?

  • Contact your local building department to inquire about additional fees, permits and registrations.

Where are secondary suites allowed?

  • Each municipality has zoning rules about where secondary suites are permitted.  Contact your local building department for this information.

Can I submit my own drawings?

  • Although the Ontario Building Code allows homeowners to design their own buildings and alternations, it is STRONGLY recommended that you employ the services of a certified designer, engineer or architect.  Most delays in obtaining a building permit result from unacceptable or inadequate drawings.

Are there size limitations for the apartment?

  • Yes, there are minimum and maximum size requirements.  Your local building department can provide this information.

What can I do to ensure my building permit application is processed quickly?

  • Speak to someone at your local building department to understand their requirements.
  • If possible, submit drawings prepared by a professional.