top of page
  • Writer's pictureBDAR

REALTalk Second Suites

On November 20th, 2019 in partnership with Ontario Real Estate Association (OREA), the Ontario REALTOR® Party (ORP) and The City of Barrie, Barrie and District Association of REALTORS® (BDAR) came together to present the signature event REALTalk Second Suites. This interactive panel discussion combined city planners, building officials, financial and legal experts to educate our membership on the importance of proper planning, build-out and procedure of second suites in our region.

The morning kicked off with 2019 BDAR President Tania Artenosi welcoming everyone to the event and introducing Robin Jones, BDAR’s 2019 President-Elect as the event moderator.

Mike Douglas, OREA Director at Large, BDAR Past President and longtime member brought greetings from OREA and ORP.

Introductions concluded with City of Barrie Mayor Jeff Lehman bringing the local issues of housing in our region and the importance of Second Suites in the housing action plan

“This issue of affordable housing has been central to councils’ agenda for about four years now. The lowest rate of rental tenure. We’ve come up with a strategy for lower-income individuals called Housing First which means how can an individual do all the other things that are so important without a home. How can you care for your family, how can you seek employment, how can you battle a mental health issue or addiction? They need a roof over their head and a safe place”.

Mayor Jeff Lehman spoke on rental prices, the lack of rental units in Barrie and how together we help put roofs over citizens heads in our region.


REALTalk - Second Suites: Welcome & Introductions

Each panelist was asked to give a 10-minute presentation on their perspective topics:

  • Panel One – The Second Suites Process

  • Panel Two – The Build out and the payoff

  • Panel Three – Financing and Management

Following each panel, the floor was opened for a question and answer period. The event ended with an additional question period to ensure members left with all their questions answered.


Panel one topic of The Second Suites Process with panelists Andrea Miller, City of Barrie Manager of Growth and Infrastructure Management and John Connell, Implementation Manager, County of Simcoe.

Andrea Miller, City of Barrie. Andrea covered what constituted a second suite, discussed how they can help with the housing supply in Barrie, and the basic process of getting approval for a second suite. Andrea touched on the implications of not making a second suite the correct and safe way and offered this resource to help better understand the second suite process.

Following Andrea was John Connell, County of Simcoe. John covered how second suites fit into our community and the homeless prevention strategy. John discussed how second suites allow homeownership more affordable for many people and that building second suites is the most inexpensive way to add more housing into our region. John went into detail about the County of Simcoe’s Secondary Suites Program which is a 15-year forgivable loan of up to $30,000 for the generation of a secondary suite. More information of the County of Simcoe’s Secondary Suite Program can be found here.


Panel two brought us the Construction and Payoff which included Timothy Kent, CEO, Redwood Park Communities and Michael Janotta, Chief Building Official, City of Barrie.

Timothy started off his presentation by explaining what Redwood Park Communities do for the region and how they assist with the building and management of secondary suites. Redwood Park Communities takes care of filing all the paperwork to ensure the correct permits, compliance and registration certificates are completed. Tim explained that it gives homeowners peace of mind having everything done properly and correctly, as well as the support of being a landlord. More on Redwood Park Communities and other initiatives they have - visit their website.

Next up was Michael Janotta touching on high-level information that helped our members serve their clients better by understanding safety requirements related to building legal basement apartments. Michael stressed the importance of not trying to understand the building code yourself and to seek professional help to ensure the safety of your client’s future tenants. Michael explained the building code regarding fire safety, structural integrity, protection from hazards, air quality, occupant comfort, environment separation. For more information on the registration process and how to get an inspector to your property visit here.


BDAR's final panel of the day was Financing and Management with three panelists; Shaloo Stolte, Mortgage Broker, Mortgage Sense, Shari Elliott, Elliot & Elliott Barristers and Solicitors and Jerry Hay BDAR Past President and current REALTOR® Member.

First up was Shaloo who presented how a potential homeowner can obtain financing on a home and what they need to qualify. Shaloo offered up a scenario situation of a first-time home-buying couple and how having a property with a legal second suite allowed them to be qualified for a mortgage that otherwise they would not qualify for. She explained that there are limited financing options for illegal suites versus legal suites.

Following Shaloo was Shari Elliot who discussed the liabilities of an illegal suite and the implications that could come along with this. Shari discussed the importance of clearly stating a suite is illegal in all paperwork, so the buyer is aware. Shari touched on tenant and landlord relationships and how to protect yourself and your clients. The last panelist of the day was Jerry Hay.

Jerry Hay shared his own personal experiences of being a landlord and building a second suite in his own home. He expressed how it would impact his future as well as help the housing supply in our region. He explained how he picked a tenant and the process of finding the right fit for your second suite.


Following the panels, Robin Jones opened the floor for another question period.

Members had many questions including:

  • When taxes get reassessed after adding a second suite to a home

  • Regulating AirBnB’s in The City of Barrie

  • Clarifying Provincial Legislation on having 3 units on 1 property (1 main living, second suite in basement, then a 3rd dwelling such as a tiny house)

  • If there are any restrictions on Second Suites such as in the Georgian College area in the surrounding townships (Midhurst, Springwater, etc)

  • Fire safety tips and resources

  • If Redwood Park Communities will assist in making an illegal suite into a legal suite

  • Questions surrounding the County of Simcoe Grant, if you can exit the loan at any time before the 15-year mark

  • Clarification on laundry being a requirement


BDAR would like to thank The City of Barrie, OREA, and the ORP for partnering with us on this event and making it a great success.

Special thanks to our exhibitors

If you or someone you know would be interested in being an exhibitor at our next event click here. For more information about BDAR Events visit our website.


Full event footage and material are located in the myBDAR Portal.



The opinions or views expressed, or materials presented at events hosted by the Barrie & District Association of REALTORS® (BDAR) are those of the participants and not necessarily those of the Barrie & District Association of REALTORS® (BDAR), it’s members or other participants.

Presentations are intended for information purposes only and do not replace independent professional judgment. Statements of fact and/or opinion(s) expressed are those of the participants individually and, are not the opinion or position of (BDAR), its members, sponsors and/or its committees. The Barrie and District Association of REALTORS® (BDAR) does not endorse and/or approve and assumes no responsibility for, the content, accuracy or completeness of the information presented.

101 views0 comments


bottom of page