Creative Housing Solutions

Creative solutions to help meet the need for attainable housing – Unconventional housing options that can be explored here in Gravenhurst. 

 What is a Tiny Home?
 Tiny Home Essential Requirements

Differences with Tiny Homes and Regular Homes in terms of obtaining a building permit?


Tiny Homes - Why it's important to contact the Building Department when considering.

 Process to Obtain a Building Permit


Big dreams about building a tiny home? Let Gravenhurst help you turn your dreams in reality!


We know that in today’s climate and housing market, people are looking for new ways reduce their carbon footprint while making efficient use of finances to help address the need for more attainable housing.

“Tiny Homes” is just one form of housing that people are looking at to help meet their housing needs.

In Gravenhurst, there are no minimum home size requirements, which means that as long as your home meets the Ontario Building Code requirements, you can make your tiny home a reality here!

First and foremost, before you buy land or purchase a structure to live in or start planning your build, please reach out to the Development Services Department to talk about what rules and regulations may impact your build.

A common question is “Do I need a building permit for my tiny home?” and the short answer for that is “YES! If you are planning to live in it, you need a permit!” Depending on where you are proposing to build, you may also need a Site Plan Agreement or another form of Planning Approval for the home. No matter whether you are looking to build a tiny home with standard wood construction, or you’d like to convert a storage container into a home – or even if you want to live in a yurt – You need to talk to the Development Services team to learn about the requirements of the Town’s Zoning Bylaw and the Ontario Building Code before you start. That way staff can help you understand the rules and regulations in place to ensure your home is safe, secure and located appropriately on your property and your investment is protected.

Some of the important things you should talk to the Development Services Department team about as you consider building a tiny home include:

  • municipal zoning requirements that apply to your property
  • designing your tiny home to comply with the Building Code
  • getting necessary building permits
  • required building inspections during construction
  • parking requirements
  • rules about connecting to municipal services, if your build is in the Urban Centre, or how to obtain a septic system approval.

To help you through the sometimes-complex approval and building process, we recommend you hire at least one of the following:

  • Building Code designer registered with the Ontario government
  • professional planner
  • architect
  • engineer

Want more information on tiny homes? Click here:

  • Accessory dwelling units (rental apartments within a home or in a garage)
  • Tiny Homes 

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU)

Accessory Dwelling Units (ADU) are permitted in The Town of Gravenhurst, subject to local regulations. The Zoning By-law outlines the requirements for this use. Below is a summary of some of the requirements, but also see Sections 5.1 and 5.2 of the Zoning By-law (page 40) for more details regarding Accessory Dwelling Units.

  1. ADUs are permitted within the primary dwelling and in an accessory building in Urban, Community, or Rural Areas, specifically permitted in R-1, R-2, R-3, RM-1, RM-2, RC-4, RR-5 provided the lot meets the minimum lot area frontage requirement of the zone.  Please note that ADUs are not permitted in the Waterfront Residential (WR) Zone. Refer to Zoning Map: GeoHub
  2. Municipal or private services are required.
  3. ADUs cannot be severed from the primary dwelling in the Rural Area.
  4. Maximum ADU size in a primary dwelling or in an accessory building is 45% gross floor area of the structure, excluding any deck or unenclosed porch.
  5. Where an ADU is to be located in an accessory structure, the min setback requirements listed for the principal building in the applicable zone apply.         
  6. One parking spot is required for each ADU.
  7. ALL Accessory Dwelling Units must meet the requirements of the Ontario Building Code as needed.
  • Accessory Dwelling Unit built on-site:
    • The Ontario Building Code sets out minimum room sizes in all dwelling units including accessory dwelling units, including but not limited to: living areas, dining areas bedroom, kitchen and bathrooms. Room sizes depend on whether or not the rooms and spaces in a unit are open-concept or separated by walls. Generally, where units have separated living spaces the minimum required room sizes are greater than units having combined living spaces.
    • Notwithstanding this, any dwelling unit containing combined living spaces containing sleeping accommodation, shall have a minimum combined living space of 13.5 square metres (145sq. ft.) for not more than two persons. In addition, the Ontario Building Code has regulations in relation to, but not limited to: stairs, minimum ceiling heights, hallway and door width requirements, windows, plumbing, lighting and other requirements that all ADU would have to meet. It is also important to note that all homes including ADUs must be attached securely to the ground through a foundation.
    • In addition, ADUs whether built on-site or factory-built must take into account climate conditions such as temperature, wind, snow, rain & energy efficiency.
    • Accessory Dwelling Units must be accessible if there is a fire or medical emergency. Firefighters must be able to access all dwelling units at all times.  The Ontario Building Code requires each building to have access for fire department vehicles by a public street, a private road or a yard.  Private roads or yards are only an acceptable option if certain conditions are met such as, a connection to a public thoroughfare, location of fire hydrants and proper overhead clearance.
    • A list of all Building Code requirements for dwelling units can be found in the Ontario Building Code 
    • Factory-built Tiny Homes or Mobile Manufactured Homes must meet one of the two key CSA certification standards in the Building Code for factory-built buildings (CSA-Z240.2.1-09; CSA A277-08).
  1. Building permits and inspections are required prior to the start of construction. Contact the Building Department.
  2. Other regulations may apply.

Development Charges

Reports to Town of Gravenhurst

Accessory Dwelling Unit Brochure

Coming Soon!

Link to District OF Muskoka funding programs 

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