Jenni MacDonald

Mortgage Tips – Properties with a Second Unit – Part 1

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Have a look through many MLS listings and you will see terms like: “Secondary Suites”, “Basement Apartments”, “Accessory Apartments”, “Granny Flats”, “In-Law Suites”, “Granny Suites” or “Nanny Suites”. Whether a buyer is looking for a unit for an aging parent to stay nearby or to make some extra money to help make the mortgage payments or cash flow, a secondary unit can be a great solution.

What are second units?

Second units are self-contained residential units with a private kitchen, bathroom facilities and sleeping areas within a single family or semi-detached home.

Benefits of second units

In addition to increasing the amount of affordable rental accommodation in an area, second units benefit the wider community in a number of other ways.


  • provide homeowners with an opportunity to earn additional income to help meet the costs of home ownership
  • support changing demographics by providing more housing options for extended families or elderly parents, or for a live-in caregiver
  • maximize densities and help create income-integrated communities, which support and enhance public transit, local businesses and the local labour markets, as well as make more efficient use of infrastructure
  • create jobs in the construction/renovation industry.

The Canadian Mortgage and Housing Corporation (CMHC) recently announced that in order to facilitate affordable housing choices for Canadians, it would be making some policy revisions on how they consider income derived from secondary suites. Considering the last 4 years have been nothing but tightening of rules, making it harder for Canadians to secure mortgage financing, this news is certainly welcome!

So What Does This Mean for You?

What about buying a property with a legal secondary suite to use the income to help pay your mortgage? CMHC has just made it a little more affordable to qualify for buying properties like this – certainly worth a look!

Jenni MacDonald ( is a Mortgage Broker with Dominion Lending Centres The Mortgage Source (Lic.#10145).  She has over 7 years of experience in the Mortgage Industry and works with at least 40 lenders including banks, credit unions, and private lenders to find the best mortgage for each client. You can contact her by phone or text at 613-551-0639 or via email at

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