duplex conversion to fourplex in Hamilton

8 Replies

Hi everyone, I put an offer on a legal duplex in Hamilton (just received a zoning verification certificate from city of Hamilton, confirming that the house is recognized as a 2 family dwelling, legally established non-conforming in zone C of Hamilton mountain area). This duplex has actually 4 separate units and 3 electrical meters, each unit has 2 separate entrances/exists. Previous owners apparently rented all 4 units and currently all units are vacant. It would be appreciated if someone can advise if it's possible to make this legal 4plex and from a legal perspective, what to expect if someone continues to rent all 4 units if it's recognized only as 2 family dwelling.


It would be best to check with the City on that as they may have a bylaw allowing it or not allowing that much of a multiplex in that area.  Also, they can confirm what requirements are needed for it to be a legal 4 plex.   Ie:  Might not have enough parking for a 4 plex or might need to meet building code and fire codes, etc to qualify.

Thanks Roy... I will check with the City

Updated almost 2 years ago

I left VM for the City officials... It will take 2 business days for someone to answer my questions

Hey @Maja D. ,

I can confidently say you'll need to apply for a zoning amendment. Zoned C doesn't allow for any more than a 1 family dwelling. Converting to 2 family dwellings has been allowed without the need for a zoning amendment across most zones in the city, but converting from 2 to 4 family dwellings will require a DE zoning I believe. 

Regardless, you'll have to talk to the city no matter what, they're pretty easy to work with though. They like it when you're (thoughtfully) adding more units.

@Maja D.  

These are always tough situations, but this is veryyyy common in Hamilton especially if you bought in Central / East Hamilton down the mountain which I'm guessing based on the description.

There's 2 options here:

1. Continue to rent as is & hope for the best  or 2. Get the property legally changed to a fourplex.

Here's my approach with similar properties: I buy or renovate property that could pass the zoning process should they need to be changed due to neighbours complaining about the property or city inspections. But I don't actually apply for the conversion unless I have to. Priority one is always making sure your tenants are safe with appropriate fire escapes, electrical, etc. Sounds like your property is pretty well put together if each unit has 2 exits. Have your realtor determine what is required for a legal conversion & how this property lines up, from there you'll be in a position to best determine whether the risk is worth it. As with most real estate purchases there's always some layer of risk.

Hope that helps & shoot me a DM if you want more info as I'm local & happy to help.

Thanks Joel, thanks Jacob, thank you so much... I have to definitely speak to the City, left a couple of VMs to city's development planning division folks. Someone should call back within 2 business days...

I lived in Hamilton for about 10 months now in London Ontario. Just curious what the rental market is like in Hamilton?

Are there opportunities for investment properties with value add opportunities?

Hi Ade, Hamilton house prices are still rising, but city still seems more affordable than the rest of GTA... Finding a cash flowing rental property with 25% downpayment anywhere in GTA including Hamilton is getting more and more difficult and complicated, almost impossible... requires a lot of hassle, energy, time and creativity...

As we all know, average property value has gone up since 2105-2016 by 10-20% yoy in some areas, rents have been increasing as well, but still not enough to cover all expenses. It's a bit discouraging but we have to keep looking and try to make it work... 

Hey Ade, I've rented in Hamilton over the past year and have also considered buying in Hamilton; there's been a big increase in rent and sale price for some neighbourhoods, while others have remained pretty consistent. It think it could be a risky time to try and buy an investment property unless you're really familiar with the neighbourhoods. There are 3 bedroom units in duplexes in the Durand area renting for above 2k, while the same unit in the north end just a couple of kms away might be around $1500.