Duplex Conversion Smiths Falls

5 Replies

Hi - I am new to the forum and a beginner as a real estate investor. I'm pursuing my first deal and I'm about to close a SFH and reconvert it as a duplex.

The house has a detached garage (which I can rent as storage for one of the tenants or to a third person). It also has a laundry room that will be shared by both tenants. 

My plan is pushing the cost of utilities to the tenants (gas and hydro) and I will pay for water. 

The house currently has one furnace and one hydro meter. After reviewing several options I have these scenarios:

1- splitting the hydro in two separate meters. Tenants will cover for hydro and I will pay gas for heating.

2- splitting hydro in two separate meters, installing electrical baseboards for the heating of one of the units and isolating the furnace ducting to heat the other unit. Tenants then will pay for their hydro and gas.

3- splitting the hydro meters and installing a second furnace with the corresponding ductwork. (Not to excited on doing this one). Also tenants will pay for their utilities consumption.

I also would like to measure the electrical usage of the garage and the laundry room to be able to bill separately to the users. 

Anybody has had a similar experience? What was the approach you took? What lessons learned you can share after doing this type of renovation? How much splitting the utilities will increase the value of the property?

Initially I was thinking on doing option #2 since I wouldn’t have to deal with the utilities myself, but after reading some posts in this forum now option #1 plus increasing rents a bit more seems like a good choice.

I would like to read your comments.


Updated almost 2 years ago

Edit: The house was a duplex before and transformed to a SFH. I'm "reconverting" it to Duplex

Hi JB,

I would add option #4 which is what I do: 

Don't do any meter work and split up utilities based on square footage of both units (usually I do 60% upstairs 40% downstairs) and let them pay for everything including the water.

@Jorge Bustamante - I believe you're "converting", not "reconverting" to a duplex. IMO, option #2 sounds the best. IMO, baseboard heat sucks compared with gas and I believe is more expensive. Plus it will cost you more to install. Build it into their rents. Yes to adding a water meter and having each tenant pay their usage. If you want an hour long shower, no problem...landlord's not paying.  

It was my understanding that the national building code requires each suited unit to have it's own separate heat source (including separate ventilation if not forced air). You may want to look into those requirements in your area or you will be left with a non-compliant second suite which will certainly impact your ARV. Other code requirements may include interconnected smoke/CO detectors, fire/smoke rated doors and a fire/smoke barrier separating the two units.

Yes, city planning and development. They will likely require you to submit a development proposal and issue a building/development permit upon approval. They will look at zoning assignments and city density maps. They will also likely send out notices to the neighbors indicating your proposal and put a notice in some local media (paper) to give the community a chance to contest the development. Maybe talk with them before getting too far into your development otherwise all your efforts may not get you a legal, conforming property.