(Including Basement Apartments)
Second suite is a common name for a basement apartment, an accessory apartment or another form of secondary residential unit in a house that contains no more than one other residential unit.
Houses with second suites are currently not permitted in Markham, except:
At present, Markham's policy requires that where houses containing a second suite are permitted, they must be registered with the City and comply with building and fire safety codes and property standards.
On April 16, 2008 the City hosted a public meeting to get feedback about the proposed policy for permitting second suites. Residents reviewed the proposed draft bylaw and submitted their comments for inclusion in the staff report to the Development Services Committee on Second Suites Public Input.
A second public meeting was held on May 20, 2008 to consider City initiated amendments to the City's Zoning By-laws to permit second suites (eg. basement apartments) in single detached and semi-detached houses, subject to requirements.
After obtaining public input, Council requested that staff report back with a recommendation to the Development Services Committee (March 3, 2009) on the proposed policy and draft by-law. Staff presented a report outlining actions required to implement a new strategy for Second Suites.
The Committee suggested that prior to holding the Public Information Meeting further discussion is needed related to issues such as zoning by-law enforcement, parking, private entrances and property standards .
On April 28, 2009, the Development Services Committee held a Part A workshop to allow further discussion the proposed new second suites strategy and the action plan required to implement it. Staff presented a presentation summarizing the proposed strategy and action plan.
The Committee discussed some of the benefits associated with legalizing second suites such as:
The Committee stated the following concerns if second suites are permitted:
There was considerable discussion regarding whether to proceed with a Public Information Meeting or to refer the matter to a future Council meeting. The Committee received the staff presentation and requested that Markham’s Proposed Policy for Second Suites be referred to the May 12, 2009 Council meeting.
At the May 12, 2009 meeting, Council requested that no further action be taken by staff with respect to Second Suites and that staff continue with the current enforcement strategy with respect to illegal second suites; and that staff take additional steps to educate Markham residents on the City’s current regulations regarding second suites.
Current inspection and registration procedures for existing grandfathered or permitted second suites can be found in A Guide to the Inspection and Registration of Two-Unit Houses Markham [PDF] or by contacting Markham Fire Services.