Secondary Dwelling Units (SDUs) in Ottawa

Feb 25, 2020 | Investment Property

Flex Property Developments - Secondary Dwelling Units (SDUs) in Ottawa

A secondary dwelling unit (SDU) is a great way to increase your property’s value all while increasing your cash flow. Many homeowners choose to buy a home that has an existing secondary-dwelling unit, or choose to build one themselves, due to the many benefits SDU’s can bring to homeowners. The additional income makes this an attractive option for property owners!

What is a secondary dwelling unit (SDU)?

An SDU is a single, self-contained rental apartment. It has its own kitchen and bathroom. Usually you will find SDUs as basement apartments, but they can be on any floor.

They’re sometimes referred to as in-law suites because of the many homeowners who have used them to house their elderly parents to keep them close.

A secondary dwelling unit can exist in a:

  • Detached home
  • Semi-detached house (a “side by side”)
  • Duplex (one unit above the other)

In Ottawa, a maximum one secondary dwelling unit is permitted in a detached dwelling, one in each half of a semi-detached building, and only one for the whole of a duplex dwelling.

Consider City Regulations, Building Codes

With the exception of Rockliffe Park, Ottawa homeowners are permitted to convert or build a separate living space so long as they have the proper building permits and meet the requirements under the Fire Code and the Ontario Building Code.

If you’re thinking about adding a secondary dwelling unit to your Ottawa home, be sure to familiarize yourself with city regulations, building code and by laws. You can consult with the city planning department.

You should also consider that having a secondary dwelling unit can affect your property taxes and insurance policy (to reflect changes in liability and your home’s increased value).

Landlord Education

You’ll also want to educate yourself on the ins and outs of being a landlord. You’ll need to be familiar with Ontario’s landlord and tenant laws. The Residential Tenancies Act (RTA) ensures that both landlords and tenants are protected.

You’ll also want to make sure you are screening your tenants properly to safeguard your rental investment. This is extra important with SDUs because they will be living in your home. Proper tenant screening ensures safety for all and avoids damages. Be sure to do your due diligence with credit checks, references and criminal background checks.

Finding the right tenant is the most important step – it’s crucial to make sure you feel comfortable with them living in your unit and that they are dependable.

Ottawa Property Management for Secondary Dwelling Units

At Flex Property, we can help you manage the ins and outs of your secondary dwelling unit. This can include:

  • Showings
  • Tenant applications and screening
  • The leasing process
  • Move-in/move-outs
  • Rent collection

This is a great option if you want to make easy additional income from your property but don’t have time to learn the ins and outs of property management. We also offer a la carte tenant placement services – so if all you’re looking for is support in finding and screening the right tenant, but you don’t need the full property management package, we can help with that too.

Want to learn more about property management for secondary dwelling units in Ottawa? Contact us.