Do you have questions about adding an Additional Residential Unit (or ARU) to your property? The Central Elgin Planning Office is here to help with your ARU project.

Whether it be an in-law suite, basement apartment, garage loft, or something similar, Central Elgin has you covered!

Flexible Housing Options

The Municipality of Central Elgin wants to make sure that housing policies provide flexible housing options for additional residential units (ARUs) on properties where there is already an existing home. The Provincial Policy Statement (2020) defines how municipalities are required to provide a variety of types and tenures of housing to create healthy and complete communities. 

Whether this be adding a 'basement apartment' for extra income, creating an 'in-law suite' for a family member, these dwelling units fall within the category of Additional Residential Units (or ARUs).

Additional Residential FAQ

What is a Dwelling Unit?

A dwelling unit is a living space designed and intended for use by one or more people who maintain a common household. Dwelling units are contained within different housing types, such as single detached, semi-detached, apartments and townhouses, among many others.  

What is an Additional Residential Unit?

An Additional Residential Unit is a type of dwelling unit provided accessory to a principal dwelling unit on the same property. ARUs are always attributed to a principal dwelling unit, but can be either connected or detached. These dwelling units come in many shapes and sizes and are commonly referred to as basement apartments, granny flats, coach homes, in-law suites, garage apartments, modified shipping container dwellings, etc. 

Can I Establish an Additional Residential Unit?

The Municipality of Central Elgin recently updated the policies to allow more people to explore putting an ARU on their property! In order to determine if your property is eligible for an ARU, check out the summary of the requirements below. The requirements are dependent on a few factors, and will differ based on the servicing of your property (if you're on well / septic or have municipal water and sanitary services), and if you're proposed an attached or detached ARU (for example a basement apartment as opposed to converting an outbuilding to a dwelling unit). For a more assistance with your project, please contact the Central Elgin Planning Office. 

What does an ARU look like?

As shown in the image below, ARUs can come in many different shapes or sizes. There are many requirements beyond the zoning of a property when considering how to establish a legal ARU.

The Province of Ontario has put together some basic information for property owners who are considering an ARU project. Please refer to the 'Adding a Second Unit in an Existing House' guide, visiting the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing website, and/or by searching for more information on the 'More Homes, More Choice Act' Housing Supply Action Plan.  

ARU Types

Zoning Regulations

ARUs must comply with the following requirements of the Municipality of Central Elgin Zoning By-laws.

  • One ARU is permitted in a single detached, semi-detached or townhouse.
  • One ARU is permitted in an accessory structure or, above a detached garage abutting a lane.
  • Properties located within Conservation Authority regulated area must obtain approval from the Conservation Authority for the ARUs.

Exceptions apply and you are encouraged to contact the Central Elgin Planning Office prior to applying for a building permit for your ARU.