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Kitchener council looks to allow fourplexes on residential lots


Kitchener city council is pursuing a bylaw that would allow fourplexes on residential land.

Currently the maximum units allowed on a residential lot is three.

A recent report by city staff predicts the population will increase by 52 per cent by 2051. With the city growing at that pace, the mayor wants to get ahead of the housing issue with the goal of maximizing the use of existing properties, especially on single family homes.

“We want to make sure we continue to be a welcoming, inviting community for everyone with a full range of housing choices across the housing spectrum from rentals to ownership,” said Kitchener Mayor Berry Vrbanovic. "I think we as a council should be proud that we're amongst the first in the province and the country to be going down this road."

At Monday night's meeting, council asked staff to draft a proposed bylaw to be discussed and voted on in early 2024. 

Concerns were raised about how to ensure the units would remain affordable once built, but overall councillors were positive about the plan.

"I also think it'll help seniors who are on a fixed income, who are overhoused, whose kids who have moved out and they're looking for a way to support themselves into retirement," said Coun. Aislinn Clancy.

A contracting group in Kitchener said they’ve been getting more calls from people interested in adding extra units to their homes.

“We understand there's a shortage of rental properties. There's some financial opportunities there for sure with the rents being where they're at, but for the most part people are calling just wondering where to start,” said Collin Beaumont, CEO of Westmount Craftsmen.

Local realtors told CTV News, the potential of fourplexes could change the housing market.

“I think homes that have bigger frontage is with the ability to build these fourplexes or multi-units are definitely going to be more valuable than perhaps what's already sitting on the property,” said realtor Tony Johal.

While the bylaw may benefit investors, Kyle Ford, a mortgage agent, said he thinks families will take advantage of it as well.

“I think in practice, we're going to see a lot of families using this as a tool maybe for mom and dad to stay in their home longer, grandma and grandpa to move in,” Ford said.

For now, the mayor said interest appears to be low.

“We've had some uptake, but not a huge uptake in the community. You know, go back to 2021, I believe we had something around four or five applications. More recently, in 2023, we've seen under 30 applications going forward,” Vrbanovic said.


The mayor in Guelph is proposing the same bylaw later this week.

On social media, Mayor Cam Guthrie said he is feeling positive council will embrace this motion.


This story has amended to make clear the fourplex bylaw has not been approved yet. At this point, the city is still exploring it. Top Stories

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