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Adding a Coach House (Secondary Dwelling Units in an Accessory Structure)

A Coach House means: A separate dwelling unit that is subsidiary to and located on the same lot as an associated principal dwelling unit, but is contained in its own building that may also contain uses accessory to the principal dwelling. These new housing units are permitted in Ottawa's urban, suburban and rural areas subject to Section 3.1 of the Official Plan and Section 142 of the Zoning By-law

If you are adding or retrofitting an existing accessory structure to create a Coach House, you need a building permit before proceeding. For the urban area, the coach house must have servicing from the primary homes municipal water and sewer connection and for lots in the rural area with private servicing they must first proceed with a Site Plan Control Application to confirm on site water suitability for the Coach House before applying for a building permit application.

Only lots with a single family dwelling, semi-detached dwelling, duplex dwelling or in certain circumstances a townhome (which has road frontage on two public roads or a laneway and a road) are permitted to apply for a Coach House.

Lots which already have a Secondary Dwelling Unit (separate apartment) within the primary residence, a garden suite or rooming units, do not qualify to build a Coach House. There are maximum unit size restrictions for the urban and rural area which are tied to the size of your lot and the size of your principle dwelling unit, as detailed in Section 142 of the Zoning By-law.

No additional parking is required, but where provided it must meet the related parking Zoning By-law provisions. Parking in tandem in the existing driveway is permitted.

Development Information Officers

For further information on Coach Houses or how one can be built on your property call the City of Ottawa help line at 3-1-1 and ask to speak to a Development Information Officer (for pre-planning questions) or a Building Code Client Service Representative (for building permit related questions). If you require the services of a Development Information Officer, please call 613-580-2424, ext. 23434 or


Secondary dwelling units are not permitted in the former Village of Rockcliffe Park

Financial Considerations

Your property taxes, as determined by the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation, may change as a result of adding a coach house in your home. Rent counts as additional income under the Income Tax Act, so adding a coach house will affect your income taxes. Notify your insurance company or broker as early as possible about your plan to build a coach house. Your policy may need to be adjusted to reflect the changes in liability and the adjusted value of your home after the addition is completed.

City Costs for Constructing a Coach House

Type Where Applicable Fees
Building Permit Everywhere $
Rural Site Plan Control Rural un-serviced areas $
Committee of Adjustment As needed $

 Note: As of September 18, 2020, coach houses are exempt from Development Charges as per provincial legislation.

A number of City processes must be completed before starting construction of a coach house. In all circumstances, a building permit is required. There may also be situations that require a Site Plan Control application and/or a Committee of Adjustment Minor Variance application. These processes are described in more detail below.

Building Permit 

All applications require a building permit. Should the homeowner move forward with building a coach house, all building permit applicants must arrange for a service consultation meeting prior to applying for a building permit by calling 3-1-1 and asking to speak to the Building Code Services office assigned to your property address.

Building permit applicants should review the following information:

Application for a Permit to Construct or Demolish

Applicable Fee

Committee of Adjustment

Applications that cannot meet the Zoning By-law performance standards must be redesigned to comply. In cases where circumstances peculiar to a property prevent you from developing your coach house in a way that strictly conforms to the Zoning By-law, you may apply to the Committee of Adjustment for a minor variance. Minor variance applicants should arrange for a Pre-Application Consultation Meeting with City Planning Staff by calling 3-1-1 and asking to speak to a planner in the Planning Infrastructure and Economic Development Branch. More information on a minor variance with the Committee of Adjustment can be found on