Coach House in Ottawa

Coach Houses

A coach house is a small accessory apartment located in a small freestanding building detached from the principal dwelling and located on the same lot as the principal dwelling.

This type of housing is a way to achieve affordable housing and increased density in existing neighbourhoods where existing services and infrastructure are in place.

Am I Eligible?

You will have to do an individual analysis to determine if your lot can accommodate a coach house. In general, a lot can accommodate a coach house if:

  • The lot is serviced by municipal water and wastewater, or if the lot is in the rural area, it is 0.4 hectares or larger and is serviced by a private well and septic system;
  • The lot contains a detached, semi-detached, duplex or townhouse dwelling unit. In the case of a rowhouse, the coach house must have a direct pedestrian access to a public road by providing a 1.2 metre wide pathway
  • The primary dwelling unit does not already contain a secondary dwelling unit (e.g. a basement apartment), garden suite or any rooming units.

Lot Size

from Planning, Infrastructure and Economic Development Department City of Ottawa


TheBy-law sets a maximum footprint for a coach house. The footprint of a coach house is determined by multiplying the principal dwelling’s footprint by 40%.

Footprint means the area of the ground floor of a building, measured from the exterior of the outermost walls, including an attached garage but excluding any projections.

The coach house is not permitted to cover more than 40% of the yard in which it is located.

The lot’s yard area must therefore be multiplied by 40%. Whichever number is smaller, 40% of the yard area or 40% of the principal dwelling’s footprint, results in the maximum permitted size of a coach house, up to a maximum of 80 m2 in the urban areas and 95 m2 in the rural area, regardless of principle dwelling or yard size.


  • The City of Ottawa has published a guide book called “How to plan your COACH HOUSE IN OTTAWA” This is an excellent and necessary reference that is available online if you are thinking about building a Coach House in Ottawa.
  • City of Ottawa has a presentation available online “Coach Houses” which is a great overview