Creating legal Hamilton rental units

Since 2008, the City of Hamilton has volleyed around the idea of licensing residential rental units in buildings that contain 1-6 units. In September 2014 the City tabled it’s draft Licensing By-Law until they were able to get feedback from a task force of a stakeholders and concerned Councillors. The task force started to meet in late 2015 and discussions continue. Hamilton has a shortage of good affordable housing options. The creation of legal rental units in Hamilton is a win/win.

Chances are if you’re reading this you’ve got one or you’re thinking of buying one- an illegal duplex or triplex aka two or three family home in Hamilton. If you already own one you may be losing sleep thinking about the illegal status of your investment. If you’re thinking about buying one, you may be weighing the pro’s and con’s of handing over hard cold cash for something that’s not legal and gambling with your investment dollars. Perhaps you’re trying to figure out if you can even make it legal and what it’s going to cost.

6  Important things you’ll need to know, do or get

1) What is the current City of Hamilton recognized use.

You’ll need to order a Zoning Verification Certificate. Two family: Cost: $111 and you get it in 10 days or $167 for express 2 day service. Three or Four Family: $227 & $344 respectively.

2) Do you qualify for a Section 19 Conversion?

  • Minimum lot size of 270 square meters or 2906 square feet.
  • Minimum unit size: 699 square feet
  • Parking: cannot use more than 50% of your front yard for parking even if it’s already being used as parking. Currently Hamilton requires 2.7m x 6 m for a parking spot. (8.85827 ft x 19.685 ft) 2 front parking spaces will require 17.7 feet. Since parking can only be 50% of front lawns, a property would  require a minimum of 35.4 feet frontage. Anything less will require Committee of Adjustment approval and that’s not a guaranteed process. (Toronto’s parking requirement is 2.6m x 5.6 (8.53 ft x 18.37 ft) meaning 2 front parking spaces would require a total of 17.06 feet. Under Toronto’s Zoning By-law, 2 parking spots on a 35′ lot would not require Committee of Adjustment approval)
  • Parking cannot be tandem. Rear parking is permitted.

3) Drawings showing the units you’re creating (or the unit(s) that are already there)

  • Architectural Drawings (may be required)
  • Floor plans for each floor
  • Structural Drawings (cross section/materials)
  • Electrical Drawings
  • HVAC Drawings
  • Survey or Plot Plan drawn to scale showing all structures and lot lines.

City of Hamilton : Understanding Building Permits and Zoning Verification Brochure

4) Obtain a Building Permit

If you’re lucky enough to meet all the requirements of a Section 19 conversion, you’ll be able to take all of your drawings and Building Permit Application to the Building Department at Hamilton City Hall. Tip: Save time by calling the Building Department in advance to set up an appointment.  If you do not meet ALL of the requirements for a Section 19 conversion, you will be directed to attempt to obtain a minor variance from the Committee of Adjustment. (note the key word here is “attempt”)

5) Patience, knowledge and money.

This is not a cheap, quick nor guaranteed process. Being super prepared and educated in the process can save time and money. Over the past year, the City of Hamilton has come a long way in providing information to property owners looking to legalize or create additional living units in their buildings.

6) Is it going to be worth it?

For the answer to this question, you’re best to consult a local Realtor® to find out if the expense incurred to create and/or attempt to legalize an additional unit will add the expected value to the property.


 

FAQ

Question: What is a Habitable Room?

Answer:

Hamilton Zoning By-Law definition (Page 2-34) : “Habitable Room means any room of a residential building or an institutional building, used or capable of being used by one or more persons for living, eating or sleeping, or as a kitchen serving a dwelling unit; but does not include a bathroom, water-closet compartment, laundry, serving or storage pantry, corridor or other space not for use frequently or during extended periods. (9451/61) (08-228) 

Hamilton Property Standards By-Law definition (Page 4) : “habitable room” means a bedroom, living room, dining room, kitchen, family room, recreation room, basement, bath or shower room, toilet room, laundry room and any other room or space in a dwelling or dwelling unit used for living, eating or sleeping

Question: How high does a basement have to be to get a building permit to create or legalize a “habitable” room?

Answer:

Room heights are covered in the City of Hamilton Property Standards By-Law

OCCUPANCY STANDARDS for a Habitable Room: Section 34(2) Page 21

Height Requirements for Living room, dining room, kitchen & bedrooms

  • 1.9 meters (74.5”) over the required floor area and in any location that would normally be used as a means of egress; or
  • 2 meters (78”) over at least 50% of required floor area. Nothing under 1.4 m is considered in square footage measurements.

Question: Can you convert a “legal non-conforming two family home” into a “legal three family home” by adding a unit under Section 19?

Answer: The simple answer is “NO”. As a rule, a “non conforming use” does not have the requirements to be considered for “legal two family use” nor has it obtained legal two family status under Section 19. To continue with a legal non conforming use, there’s a requirement that the property owner is able to prove that the property has had been continuously used as the non-conforming use since it obtained the “legal non-conforming” status. In most cases in Hamilton, this will go back to the 1950’s.

The property is “legal non-conforming” for a reason. The City recognizes the fact that the property does not meet the Zoning By-law and have authorized its use at some point in history: lot size, parking and zoning are the most popular reasons why it never became a “legal two family”. Once you go to apply for a change of use to a three family home, you’ll need to meet all the requirements under the regular three family zoning in the current By-law and cannot use Section 19 for this type of conversion. The City will treat it as if it’s going from single family to three family use. At the end of the day, you may still have a hard time getting it converted to a “Legal two family home” under Section 19.  You should retain the services of a professional.

Question:

The assessment report from MPAC shows it as a duplex- does that not mean anything?

Answer:

NO- it means absolutely nothing in the eyes of the City. MPAC assessment reports are simply what MPAC uses to determine what mill rate will be applied to the property. This is one of the biggest mistakes I see people make- home owners, buyers and real estate colleagues. The only way to find out the legal use of the property is by obtaining a Zoning Verification Certificate. 

Question: 

What’s the worse thing that can happen to me if I own something that’s not legal?

Answer:

If you own a property that is not in line with the City’s recognized use you can run into issues on more than one front. Tenants and neighbours may complain to the City about your property or you may get caught up in one of the neighbourhood blitzes that the City of Hamilton By-law Enforcement team conduct. If the City does not recognize the use, you’ll have a choice- either convert it back to the legal use, which may involve trying to evict a tenant, or try to convert it under Section 19. The City may proceed to take legal action against you for a Zoning By-law infraction.

Also, insurance companies and financial institutions are becoming a lot more concerned about the legal status of income properties.


 *****When asked about the implications of the April/15 By-law change allowing development of cellars, I received the following interpretation from the “Open for Business” department at City Hall.

“The result in the revisions are that basements and cellars are to be treated the same in the Hamilton zoning by-law and the Ontario Building Code will determine if a conversion is to be permitted.”

Something really sticks out here- the reference to the Ontario Building Code and not the City of Hamilton’s Building Code. In the case of ceiling heights, the Ontario Building Code is actually more stringent.


Notes:

1. In April 2015, Hamilton City Council approved a zoning bylaw amendment whereby cellars and basements would be treated the same and the Ontario Building Code would be used to determine if a conversion is possible.  As a result, cellars may now be used in square footage calculations for living units subject to the ability to obtain a building permit. City of Hamilton Council Meeting

2. Section 19 Conversions- City of Hamilton Zoning By-Law– Page 306


Window requirements for bedrooms and other living areas fall under the Ontario Building Code. Following excerpt taken from Page 475 of the Ontario Building Code

Ceiling HeightsOntario Building Code– page 470


Donna Bacher, Broker, with Royal LePage State Realty Brokerage has been representing Buyers and Sellers in the Hamilton area since 1983. The information provided in this article is for information purposes only and should not be considered a legal opinion. Donna has been involved with the Hamilton Rental Licensing debate and affordable housing issues in the City of Hamilton since 2008. Even though all efforts have been made to make sure the information provided is accurate as of the date of this article, the writer does not guarantee that rules, policies and By-laws have not been changed by the City of Hamilton or Province of Ontario. If you are interested in creating additional units or legalizing existing units, please consult a Designer/Architect who is licensed in the City of Hamilton to explore your options.

Secondary Suite Requirements in Toronto

Open House Sunday 2-4 at 110 Huntingwood Ave, Dundas

110 Huntingwood Ave, Dundas

Open House Sunday 2-4 at 110 Huntingwood Ave, Dundas

– We invite everyone to visit our open house at 110 Huntingwood Avenue on April 10 from 2:00 PM to 4:00 PM.

Fantastic 4 bedroom in premium Dundas location looking out onto beautiful Veterans Park. This home boasts everything for the active family.

Wonderful eat-in kitchen with loads of counter space & cabinetry, stainless appliances, separate formal dining room and living room with beautiful hardwood floors. Gorgeous bay windows in living room. Sliding glass doors off of kitchen to newer deck and private rear yard.

Open concept from kitchen to family room – with wood burning fireplace.(WETT Certified March31/16). Updates include Roof-2012, A/C-2010.

Great Value! No offers until 6pm on April 11/16. Please call listing brokerage to register offers.

Inclusions: Fridge, Stove, Microwave Hood Range, Mirrors in Bathrooms, Electrical Light Fixtures, Auto Garage Door Opener, Central Vac with ALL Attachments & Power Head

SOLD

2 Story For Sale in Dundas

110 Huntingwood Ave, Dundas

Great Location!

•  3 bath, 4 bdrm 2 story$589,900.

– Fantastic 4 bedroom in premium Dundas location looking out onto beautiful Veterans Park. This home boasts everything for the active family.

Wonderful eat-in kitchen with loads of counter space & cabinetry, stainless appliances, separate formal dining room and living room with beautiful hardwood floors. Gorgeous bay windows in living room. Sliding glass doors off of kitchen to newer deck and private rear yard.

Open concept from kitchen to family room – with wood burning fireplace.(WETT Certified March31/16). Updates include Roof-2012, A/C-2010.

Great Value! No offers until 6pm on April 11/16.

Property information

2 Story Townhouse For Sale in East Hamilton

9-34 Bow Valley

•  2 bath, 3 bdrm 2 story – $220,000.
MLS® #H3178490

Beautiful 3 Bedroom condo in small private complex backing onto picturesque ravine. Large principal rooms, private drive and garage. Close to everything! Very well maintained unit with neutral decor, walk out from living room to second level deck, patio doors from family room to fenced rear yard. A definite must see!

SOLD

Spring and Home Garden Show

Note that this information is outdated.
Spring and Home Garden Show

April 01, 2016 to April 03, 2016
Presented By: Continuum Productions Inc.
The Hamilton Spring Home and Garden Show presented by RE/MAX Escarpment Realty is the Premier Regional Home & Garden Show in Canada with the widest selection of the provinces most trusted exhibitors & brands. Come get inspired, get informed, be entertained and most importantly be ready to take advantage of great Home Show Specials and Deals.

Conveniently located, you can find us easily from any direction or major highway. And when you arrive – you can park your car for free!

Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum
Friday April 1 12pm – 8pm
Saturday April 2 10am – 7pm
Sunday April 3 10am – 5pm

Adults (18+): $12.00
Seniors (65+): $10.00
Youths (13-17): $10.00
Kids 12 and under Free

Special Offer:
Save up to 30% off admission tickets when you buy online.

See more at: http://www.ontariohomeshows.com

Location: Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum

Website: www.ontariohomeshows.com

When/Where: Canadian Warplane Heritage Museum – April 01, 2016 to April 03, 2016

Countertops add value

the value of quality countertops

Quality countertops are definitely not a fad

For well over a decade, homebuyers have been showing their love for high end countertops.  When you consider that many homeowners don’t start thinking about spending money on updates and upgrades until it’s time to put up a “For Sale” sign, it shouldn’t be a surprise that one question homeowners frequently ask is  “should we put in granite countertops?”

Can a countertop add value?

That depends on the material. Standard ones, the kind you’ll find in cookie cutter new home construction and on the shelves at your local Home Depot or Lowes are laminate- a composite material covered in a decorative paper and melamine coating. They’re definitely at their prime during the first 5 years of their life (or until someone forgets what a cutting board is for) and are prone to nicks, cuts and burns by regular use or accident. With careful use, they can look great for decades but very few make it through a growing family without taking a hit or two. Even a new laminate counter many not add the value you would expect since it’s the bare minimum that buyers expect. Solid surface and stone countertop options are considered to be definite upgrades and tend to add value because their function and lifespan are so appealing to Buyers.

An alternative to a full kitchen reno

Most homeowners dread tackling kitchen renovations. The thoughts of spending tens of thousands of dollars and living without a functioning kitchen for a week or two can be overwhelming-emotionally and financially. The good news is that it may take you longer to select a new countertop than it will take to have it installed. Just like other renovation projects, the more prepared you are the better. Perhaps that new granite counter will be best served with a new under mount sink and that sink will probably be best served with a new faucet and maybe, that faucet is going to need new plumbing. You may want to accent your new countertop with new back splash and perhaps even a new slide-in range. The key is to make a plan and set a budget, keeping in mind that the end result will be well worth it.

Buyers love quality countertops

There’s absolutely no doubt in this Realtors® mind that decor and staging definitely helps sell a home, but one of the most fascinating trends I’ve seen over the past decade in the Hamilton real estate market, is Buyer attraction to quality countertops like quartz, granite and brand names like Corian and Caesarstone. And, it doesn’t matter what the price range of the home is, buyers seem to be willing to look past other issues when the kitchen and baths have awesome countertops. At first I thought it was a whole kitchen thing happening, but I don’t believe that’s the case. Seems like refurbished, painted or even original cabinetry take on a whole new life once they’re capped with a high quality counter.

Enjoy your countertop investment

At $60-$90 a square foot, decking your kitchen out with quartz, granite or one of the other materials may seem to be an expensive option especially if you’re going to be moving out of the house in the near future. But then again- why wait until you’re moving? Select the right product and it’ll look just as good 5 years from now as it does the day you have it installed. The true value may be in you getting to enjoy your investment.

Countertops & Technology

If you’re going to start shopping for counters make sure you check out Dupont’s charging stations- one of the solid surface technologies we’re bound to see more of in the future.

Speaking of HGTV- their 13 favourite countertop materials

Check out the difference in countertop materials at Popular Mechanics!

 

 

 

 

 

 

Food and Drink Fest

Note that this information is outdated.

Food and Drink Fest

Food and Drink Fest
April 22, 2016 to April 24, 2016
Presented By: Beau Monde Productions

Food and Drink Fest is The Region’s Most Fun & Delicious Culinary, Wine, Spirit and Beer Expo!
Come and experience an exciting variety of Ontario VQA and International wines, spirits, craft beers, gourmet local food, specialty coffees, teas, decadent desserts as well as unique spices, sauces and marinades. Created and presented by some of the Hamilton, Burlington, Oakville and Niagara Regions’ most popular restaurants, culinary experts, chefs, innovative food trucks, breweries and wineries. Also enjoy exciting live musical entertainment and fun informative cooking demonstrations all in one convenient and central location!

Hamilton Convention Centre, 1 Summers Lane, Hamilton, Ontario

Location: Hamilton Convention Centre

Website: www.FoodandDrinkFest.com

When/Where: Hamilton Convention Centre, 1 Summers Lane, Hamilton, Ontario

 

A Note To Our Visitors:
Thank you for visiting FoodandDrinkFest.com and your interest in the upcoming Festival! As members of the Food & Drink Fest team, we love creating unique local culinary experiences for foodies and local consumers alike.
While we encourage all to enjoy the event to the full, safety is our first priority. Therefore we ask that, should you choose to partake of alcohol at the show, that you do so in a moderate and safe fashion. Above all, we ask that you do not drink and drive. Please plan ahead, appoint a designated driver, make arrangements for taxi service or take public transit.
After almost two decades of planning live events, we have learned of one constant we can always count on: things change! Because of the nature of events like these, information on this website may be adjusted from time to time during the planning or duration of the Festival. We will try our very best to keep you up to date with the very latest news information as it becomes available.

Spring Tide Bulb Show

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Spring Tide Bulb Show

Spring Tide Bulb Show

March 11, 2016 to March 20, 2016

Spring Tide Bulb Show

Presented By » Gage Park Tropical Greenhouse
The Spring Tide Bulb Show is held each year. Hundreds of spring bulbs will be on display and the greenhouse also has a turtle pond, fish ponds and birds from the aviary. A new theme each year brings the Tropical House to life.

A great way to spend some time during March Break. Bring the family, participate in our scavenger hunt and enjoy the first sights, sounds and smells of Spring!

March 11 – 20, 2016
Gage Park Tropical Greenhouse: Enter the Gage Park parking lot off Lawrence Road, just east of Gage Avenue South. Take the pathway at the north side of the parking lot to the Horticulture Depot.

Admission is free and the show runs daily from 9 AM to 5 PM. Donations to Hamilton Food Share are welcome. Donation to Hamilton Food Share would be appreciated.
Wheelchair Accessible & Free Parking.

Location: Gage Park

Phone: 905-546-2424 X 7598

Website: www.hamiltoninbloom.ca

When/Where: Gage Park, Hamilton

 

DIRECTIONS & PARKING

IN HAMILTON

Follow Gage Avenue, south of Main Street East, to Lawrence Road and enter the park at the Roselawn Lawn Bowling Club.

FROM NIAGARA/BUFFALO

Take the QEW to the Red Hill Valley Parkway. Take the King Street exit and continue through the King Street intersection on to Lawrence Road. Continue on Lawrence Road and enter Gage Park at the Roselawn Bowling Club.

FROM TORONTO

Take the QEW to Hwy. 403 and exit at Main Street East. Continue east to Gage Avenue and then south (right) to Lawrence Road. Enter Gage Park at the Roselawn Bowling Club.

FROM GUELPH

Take Hwy. 6 to Hwy. 403 and exit at Main Street East. Continue east to Gage Avenue and then south (right) to Lawrence Road. Enter Gage Park at the Roselawn Bowling Club.

FROM KITCHENER/LONDON

Take Hwy. 403 eastbound and exit at Main Street East. Continue east to Gage Avenue and then south (right) to Lawrence Road. Enter Gage Park at the Roselawn Bowling Club.

March Break at Dundurn

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March Break at Dundurn

Visit Dundurn National Historic Site this March Break to explore Dundurn Castle and the Hamilton Military Museum. Take a guided tour of more than 40 rooms in Dundurn Castle and discover what it was like to live and play above stairs and work and live as servants below stairs. Sample a variety of historic goodies made in the kitchen and explore the child-friendly craft area located in the Coach House. Visit the neighbouring Hamilton Military Museum for the exhibit “Blood Ties to a Gentle Landscape”. The exhibit explores the historical figures that lived around Burlington Heights during the War of 1812. Plan to visit the Coach House Gallery which has an exhibit on the First World War. The newly renovated military museum provides a self-guided experience with dress-up and hands-on activities.
Saturday, March 12, 2016 to Sunday, March 20, 2016
12:00 pm – 4:00 pm
Adults: $11.50, Seniors/Youth: $9.50, Children: $6.00, Infants: Free, Family: $30.00

Location: 610 York Blvd.

Phone: 905-546-2872

Email: dundurn@hamilton.ca

Website: www.hamilton.ca/dundurn

When/Where: 610 York Blvd, Hamilton

 

Dundurn Castle – Experience a guided tour of this 40-room Italianate-style villa built in the 1830’s on Burlington Heights; the former site of a fortified military encampment established by the British in 1813. Once home to Sir Allan Napier MacNab, railway magnate, lawyer and Premier of the United Canadas (1854-1856) and his family, today Dundurn Castle tells the story of the family who lived above stairs and the servants who lived and worked below stairs to support their affluent lifestyle. Her Royal Highness The Duchess of Cornwall is the museum’s Patron and the great, great, great granddaughter of Sir Allan MacNab. The Kitchen Garden at Dundurn – William Reid was Sir Allan’s gardener for over 25 years. Explore his lovingly restored kitchen garden, where we use 1850’s tools and varieties to grow food for Dundurn Castle’s historic kitchen. Stop by the garden gate for the sights and scents of the 19th century. The Hamilton Military Museum – The tranquil landscape around the Hamilton Military Museum known as Burlington Heights was a centre of defense from 1813 to 1815. This was home to men, women and children connected to the British army and First Nations allies who came together during the conflict known as the War of 1812. The new exhibit Blood Ties to a Gentle Landscape tells the stories of people who lived here by connecting artifacts, personalities and modern-day descendants. Step back in time and meet the people tied by blood to this gentle landscape. The Coach House at Dundurn – Housed in an 1870’s Coach House, this unique, meeting and reception facility can accommodate groups up to 88 people. The Coach House is also home to The Castle Shop, featuring a variety of Canadian handmade crafts, souvenirs and special gifts.

Landscaping tips with Sherry Hayes

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Landscaping
Landscaping tips with Sherry Hayes

Our Meet and Greet with coffee, tea and delicious treats begins at 7:00 p.m on March 14th 2016.; followed by our guest speaker at 7:30 . Guests are $2.00. Draw & 50/50!

Sherry is the founding owner and lead designer of Landscaping With Style. You will, certainly, recognize her name and face! Sherry’s accomplishments include writing landscaping and design articles for the Hamilton Spectator, and hosting a weekly landscaping and gardening show on Hamilton’s Cable 14.

Sherry is, also, an accomplished landscape artist and will have artwork available for purchase. “My exclusive ‘Photo-Painting’ On Canvas is now part of my Artscapes By Sherry Hayes Series. Through a technique that I developed I bring photography and art to life on canvas. When personalized, it is the perfect way to capture a special moment; place or subject in an extraordinary form.”

When/Where: Royal Canadian Legion – March 14th 2016

 

http://www.landscapingwithstyle.on.ca/about_sherry.htm