• Daniel S




A basement apartment might be just what you need to provide the added income to make your dream purchase affordable, but beware of the pitfalls and remember that you as a purchaser assume all the liability of a home that doesn't comply, regardless of when you bought it.   Smart real estate agents never list a house as having a legal basement apartment since they do not want to guarantee that the basement apartment complies fully with all the applicable fire codes, building codes, Electrical Safety Authority regulations and zoning and housing standards by-laws.  Illegal basement apartments are a risk to the occupants and others in the structure as well as a concern to the community in general. They are dangerous as they may pose a fire risk and other safety concerns such as: * fire risks such as not enough building exits, fire separations between units, working smoke alarms, carbon monoxide detectors * illegal and unsafe utility connections * illegal and unsafe building renovations * excess driveway and street parking * excess garbage * overload on existing utilities (electrical, plumbing, water and sewers) * possible depreciation of neighbouring property values

When a suspected illegal basement apartment is reported, the Fire Department receives the complaint. A Fire Prevention Officer will then conduct an initial inspection to determine whether the basement apartment is permitted (as per Fire Code regulations only) and to ensure that while the basement apartments are occupied that they are made safe. The fact that the basement apartment is inspected by the Fire Department and may be approved as safe or that they meet the Fire Code does not necessarily mean that the basement apartment is permitted under the legislation

The Ontario Building Code which prescribes minimum requirements for the construction of buildings is a code that applies only when the house was built.  The building code changes over the time but for the most part, it does not apply retroactively.

The fire code which prescribes construction and safety issues as they relate to how the building is required to perform should it catch fire, can apply retroactively.

Here are few basic requirements for a legal basement apartment.:

(1)  The detached or semi detached house must be at least 5 years old.

(2) The front of the house cannot be significantly altered to change its appearance from that of a one unit building.

(3) Basement apartment must be smaller than the main dwelling unit.

(4) Minimum ceiling height is 6'5". Ceiling must be continuous. Suspended (T-bar type) ceilings and exposed joists are not acceptable.  Furnace room ceiling must be dry walled or plastered too.

(5) Doors must be solid wood or metal and minimum thickness is 1.75". Exterior door must be at least 32"x78". Interior doors must have a 1/2 inch gap at the bottom to provide air movement within the basement apartment, unless return air ducts are installed in the room. The smallest dimension of the window is 18" and the opening must be at least 600 sq in.  Windows must be within 3' of ground, and if there is window well it must extend 3' from the house wall to allow room to crawl out. (6) Bathrooms have to have either a window or fan.

(7)  A kitchen equipped with a refrigerator, stove in good repair and working condition. Cupboards having a capacity of not less than four cubic feet multiplied by the total number of persons occupying the unit..

(8)  New basement apartments require building permits before construction begins. In most areas an additional parking space is required for new basement apartments. If there is a parking spot for the upper unit, there must also be a parking spot for the basement apartment.

(9)   The property owner is responsible to make sure that smoke alarms are installed and maintained. Carbon Monoxide alarms are required under many Municipal By-laws. They are to be provided in each dwelling unit in a building containing a fuel fired appliance or an attached garage. Even if they are not required by legislation they make good sense with to-day's design methods providing for air-tight construction of dwelling units. Smoke alarms must be installed in each dwelling unit on every floor including those containing a bedroom or sleeping area. The alarm must be audible in bedrooms when the bedroom doors are closed. The smoke alarm may be battery operated or connected to an electrical circuit with no disconnect switch between the over current device and the smoke alarm. Interconnected smoke alarms may be required if: •  15min. Fire Resistance Rating is used between dwelling units •   one dwelling unit must exit through another dwelling unit

If required, interconnected smoke alarms must be installed in every storey above and below grade in each dwelling unit, and in every shared means of escape where applicable. These alarms must be audible in bedrooms when the intervening doors are closed.. Some municipalities require to provide the furnace with a relay to shut down the furnace blower fan and gas valve if the smoke alarm is activated, and equip the heat ducts and cold air return in the basement apartment with fire dampers where they penetrate the wall or ceiling membrane. A  cold air return is required in the basement apartment and if located within 24” of the basement floor fire damper is not required.

(10)  An electrical inspection by Electrical Safety Authority (ESA - 1 877 ESA SAFE) )and all the deficiencies identified during the inspection must be addressed. Owners should retain the letter of compliance received from the Electrical Safety Authority for future reference purposes.  This letter must be made available to the Chief Fire Official upon request.

(11)  A continuous fire separation with a 30 min. Fire Resistance Rating is required between dwelling units and between dwelling units and other areas. This may be provided by existing membrane of lath and plaster or gypsum board. Openings in Fire Separation shall be protected with rated doors installed in hollow metal or solid wood frames and equipped with self closing devices Lesser degrees of Fire Resistance Rating may be acceptable with the provision of interconnected Smoke Alarms or Sprinkler Protection. The containment features are intended to provide protection for the occupants living in a dwelling unit from a fire occurring in another portion of the building, outside of their control. To achieve a 45 min fire resistance rating for walls, one layer of 5/8" Type X drywall on each side of the wall is required. To achieve a 45 min fire resistance rating for ceilings, one layer of 5/8" Type X drywall is required. To achieve a 30 min fire resistance rating for walls, one layer of 1/2" regular drywall on each side of the wall is required. To achieve a 30 min fire resistance rating for ceilings, one layer of 1/2" Type X drywall or two layers of 1/2" regular drywall is required or one layer of 5/8" regular drywall..

(12)  A single means of egress - provision for the escape of persons from each dwelling unit in the event of fire - may be acceptable if the following conditions are met:

•  It is properly separated with a 30 min. Fire Resistance Rating • The flame spread rating of means of escape does not exceed 150 (wood paneling is unacceptable) • The means of escape does not involve entering another dwelling unit or other occupancy and leads directly to the outside at ground level.

Two means of escape are required if one means of escape is through another dwelling unit. An existing means of egress may be acceptable if the basement apartment is sprinklered.

(13) Ontario building code (O.B.C Part 9 Section 9 Clause 11.2) also requires minimum sound transmission class rating - STC 50 sound proofing between the dwelling units. The worst noise issues are usually noted under the main floor kitchen, bathroom, powder room, foyer and laundry room where the upper floor is not carpeted. The Ontario Building Code's Supplementary Guidelines recommends either 38mm concrete layer over the sub-floor  and two layers of the superior Type X gypsum board ceiling below it or 25 mm concrete light weight concrete on the sub-floor, absorptive insulation between the ceiling and the sub floor and double layer ceiling.

Section 9.8 of the Ontario Fire Code prescribes the requirements for Retro-fit for basement apartments in the following areas: 1. Exits - egress 2. Separations between dwelling units (ceilings and walls), doors, etc. 3. Smoke alarms 4. Carbon Monoxide alarms (per By-law) 5. Electrical inspection

The landlord (owner) is responsible for compliance with the Ontario Fire Code and is responsible to ensure the safety of their tenants in the basement apartment. An individual may be fined $50,000 per offence or one year in jail or both, for violations of the Ontario Fire Code.

The landlord (property owner) is also responsible for compliance with the municipality’s zoning by-law to ensure that the basement apartment is being used/occupied as permitted by the zoning by-law.

An individual who is found guilty of a violation of the municipality’s zoning by-law may be  fined up to $25,000 per offence and a corporation found guilty of an offence may be fined up to $50,000 per offence Province of Ontario laws now require all the municipalities to allow basement apartments in homes. In 2009, the Ontario provincial government began developing a long-term affordable housing strategy. Public consultations were held across Ontario. In 2010, the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing released Building Foundations: Building Futures, Ontario’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy (LTAHS). As part of the strategy, Bill 140: Strong Communities through Affordable Housing Act, 2011 was introduced to Provincial Parliament on November 29, 2010 and received Royal Assent on May 4, 2011.

To further expand affordable housing opportunities, Bill 140 amended various sections of the Planning Act by:

Requiring all the municipalities in Ontario to implement official plan policies and zoning by-law provisions that allow basement apartments in detached, semi–detached and townhouses. Municipalities in Ontario will have the ability to determine appropriate locations and performance  standards for these units. Removing the ability to appeal the establishment of these official plan policies and zoning by-law provisions, with the exception of official plan policies that are included in five-year updates of municipal official plans.

The changes to the Planning Act for basement apartments came into effect on January 1, 2012. Municipalities in Ontario are required to bring their planning documents into conformity with the new Province of Ontario legislation as part of their five-year official plan review. Alternatively, the municipalities may choose to adopt basement apartments policies in advance of the official plan review.

Municipalities will be responsible for determining what standards or zoning provisions should apply to legalize basement apartments with regards to matters such as minimum unit size or parking requirements. Basement apartments must comply with all other applicable laws and requirements, including Ontario Building Code, Fire Code, and municipal property standards. The proposed changes would not “grandfather” (or legalize) any existing basement apartment that does not meet these requirements.

Bill 140 amended the Planning Act to require all municipalities to implement official plan policies and zoning bylaw provisions that allow basement apartments. Municipalities must now come up with guidelines on how to regulate them.  Until rules and regulations are established by each municipality, it will be status quo which means basement apartments will still be illegal.  The province did not give municipalities a deadline to make the change.

The provincial government realizes that the cost of living in the province is going up and the ability for people to buy homes is becoming more pinched, so if the basement apartments are legally permitted, it will allows people to buy a home and supplement their mortgage payments by renting out the basement for the first number of years. Allowing basement apartments is a very astute measure, very broad ranging economic policy being brought forward by the provincial government. Also it would benefit elderly people who want to stay in their own homes as they age but find it expensive on a fixed income. Basement apartments can provide a separate living arrangement for an elderly family member who for health or safety reasons may no longer be able to live on their own. They can also provide accommodation for a son or daughter who also may be living at home for various reasons. Basement apartments can also provide a second source of income for an older retired couple that allows them to ‘age in place’. The older couple can move into the basement apartment and rent out the larger dwelling, or they can remain in the main dwelling and rent out the basement apartment. This is particularly important to emphasize because over the next 20 years, seniors are forecast to grow rapidly. As such, this aging population trend will contribute to a demand for more flexible inter-generational living arrangements, which basement apartments can help accommodate. Most demand for utilities and services is based on household consumption. However, the number of persons per unit varies broadly and is not directly proportional to the existence of a basement apartment. A house with a basement apartment may or may not have more people than single unit dwellings since the households in basement apartments tend to be smaller (seniors, young adults, singles, single parent families, etc.) Basement apartments tend to have fewer school-age children living in them than single household dwellings.

The municipalities are required to legalize basement apartments in all ground-related dwellings and their ancillary structures in both existing and newly developing residential communities. However, when developing basement apartment policies, the provincial government encourages municipalities to consider constraints such as flood-prone and/or environmentally protected areas, or those with inadequate servicing.

Province of Ontario enacted the basement apartment legislation to help municipalities address the crisis, since basement apartments provide some of the most affordable rental rates. Legal basement apartments provide an effective form of affordable housing and increase the availability of affordable housing choices while also offering a home owner an opportunity to earn additional income. Affordable housing becomes more of an issue as the Greater Toronto Area attracts more and more people. Municipalities across the Greater Toronto Area have lengthy wait lists for subsidized affordable housing. Peel Region is facing a crisis in affordable housing, with families waiting up to 15 years to get a subsidized unit and the Peel Region's affordable housing situation is deplorable. Even if family members are living in the basement and not paying rent, the municipalities still consider them illegal. Municipalities are working to change its by-laws to make basement apartment legal. Municipal legislations to permit basement apartments must be passed by each municipality before new units can be created legally. Individual Municipal Requirements for Basement Apartments.

Since parking issues are perhaps the greatest concern associated with legal basement apartments, parking requirements will need to be established into the municipal Zoning By-Law. Specifically, the municipalities can consider requiring at least one off-street parking space for the basement apartment. However, where properties are smaller and narrower in some subdivisions, this may entirely restrict the construction of basement apartments. Therefore, eliminating parking requirements for the basement apartment is an option in certain areas, although this may become a substantial issue since overnight on-street parking is not permitted in most residential areas. An additional challenge to accommodate parking for basement apartment is that the the municipal Zoning By-Law currently specifies maximum driveway widths and requires a certain proportion of the front yard to be maintained as unpaved 'landscaped open space'.

Restricting the size of the legal basement apartment can help limit the number of occupants, and this can be a further way to help alleviate some of the concerns associated with them. To ensure that basement apartments are accessory to the principal dwelling, the floor area could be limited to a certain size that is not more than half of the total gross floor area of the principal dwelling. The number of bedrooms in the basement apartments could also be restricted and this would help reduce the potential for it to be occupied by larger families, thereby limiting the additional demand on municipal infrastructure and community services.

In an attempt to preserve the character of existing homes and neighbourhoods, when a legal basement apartment is constructed, the municipality could require the external appearance of the principal dwelling be maintained and permit only one front entrance to a house. This would help ensure that the basement apartment is incorporated into the surrounding neighbourhood of the property with minimal aesthetic impact. However, this stipulation may also restrict the construction of basement apartments, since it may be very costly or even impossible to construct a separate entrance for the basement apartment at the back or side of the principal dwelling.

As a way to help address concerns surrounding the potential for both the principal dwelling and the basement apartment to operate as rental units, the municipalities may consider a zoning provision to require that either the principal dwelling or basement apartment be owner occupied.  While this may be difficult to enforce, it could help address property standards concerns regarding basement apartments and their potential to negatively affect the existing character of neighbourhoods.

In an attempt to encourage both the creation and legalization of new and existing basement apartments, some jurisdictions have waived building permit and inspection fees for a period of one year. Some municipalities have also provided grants to support their construction as part of a local  affordable housing strategy. Funding could be allocated in the capital budget for this type of an initiative under the authority of a Community Improvement Plan, as legislated under the Planning Act.

Town of Ajax requirements for Legal Basement Apartment Legal basement apartments are permitted in Town of Ajax in all residential zones, excluding RM4, RM5, and RM6. To permit an basement apartment  must meet the following requirements: Minimum of three off-street parking spaces - Two parking spaces for the principal dwelling unit and one additional parking space for the basement apartment. Minimum gross floor area of 25 m² (269 ft²) and the total gross floor area of the accessory apartment is not more than the ground floor area of the dwelling in which it is located. Basement apartments used or occupied on/or before Nov 16, 1995 are not required to meet the zoning requirements as Section 76(1) of the Planning Act "grandfathers" these basement apartments, however a building permit is required. When the House is less than five years old, the basement apartment is reviewed under Part 9, Division B of the Ontario Building Code, the construction requirements of the Ontario Building Code are more restrictive. Typical Building Code requirements are as follows: Minimum window areas for light are 10% of the floor area for living/dining rooms, and 5% of the floor area for bedrooms

45 minute fire separation Separate heating systems Hard-wired, interconnected smoke alarms located within each dwelling unit and all shared areas Carbon monoxide detectors, within each dwelling unit adjacent to each sleeping area

Town of Aurora - Requirements to Legalize Basement Apartment Only one unit is permitted to have a home occupation. Basement apartments are not permitted in buildings located within the flooding and erosion hazard limits of all watercourses. Basement apartment registration fee: $150 and $75 if additional inspections are required.

Town of Bradford West Gwillimbury - Requirements to register a legal basement apartment Permitted in a detached home, semi-detached home or place of worship, and shall be located entirely within the same main building One basement apartment per lot No more than one entrance to a house is contained within the front facade and the entrance to the basement apartment must not be located within a private garage Minimum size to be 38 m² (409 ft²) and the maximum size to be 45% of the gross floor area of the principal building One additional parking space per unit If located in an area serviced by private servicing, the lot must be of an adequate size and the private waste disposal system must be sized to accommodate the basement apartment. Furthermore, if there is a private water supply, this water supply shall be adequate to accommodate the basement  apartment. Approval is required from The Region of York or appropriate approval agencies for the provision of adequate water supply and sewage facilities.

City of Brampton will approve legal basement apartments very soon Brampton’s Official Plan permits basement apartment through a rezoning process. Only basement apartments that were built before November 16, 1995 and were registered with the City of Brampton before January 31, 2006 are considered legal. About 3,000 homes in Brampton have legal basement apartments that homeowners built after the Government proclaimed Bill 120. For these units to be legal, the owners had to have built them before November 16, 1995 and the owners had to have registered them with the City of Brampton before January 31, 2006 or they had to have legal non-conforming status. The City of Brampton strictly prohibits homes that owners have subdivided their houses into more than two units, unless the City has specifically zoned the property to permit multiple dwelling units. The City of Brampton has zoned only very few houses as triplexes. All legal registered basement apartments in Brampton had to comply with the Building Code and Fire Code when the City approved them. If the owner afterwards modified the home or added more units, the owner would have had to get a building permit and arrange for City staff to inspect the property before construction could begin. The current zoning of City of Brampton with an estimated 30,000 illegal basement apartments, does not permit new basement apartments.  According to the current zoning by-law If you did not have a basement apartment in your home before November 16, 1995, you cannot add one in Brampton. Currently you have to request the City of Brampton  to change the zoning bylaw before it can permit a new basement apartment. Requesting  the City of Brampton to change the zoning bylaw requires you to submit a zoning bylaw amendment application and a fee of $7,759 to the City’s Planning, Design and Development Department. The staff of the department will process your application and recommend whether City Council should approve your application to change the zoning bylaw. The rezoning process includes: City staff holding a public meeting to allow anyone living within 800 meters of your property line -- or any other person interested in your application -- to comment. You post a sign on the property, detailing the nature of your application. City Council decides whether to approve or refuse to change the zoning. You or anyone who attended the public meeting, expressed a view or made a written submission can appeal City Council’s decision on your zoning application to the Ontario Municipal Board. The zoning amendment process can take about six months to a year to complete. For further information on how to apply for a zoning amendment, contact the Planning, Design and Development Department at 905-874-2090.

Basement apartments in Brampton will continue to require a rezoning application until policies and zoning by-law provisions to permit them are in place as per Bill 140. In response to direction in Bill 140 for municipalities to permit second units, City of Brampton is required to implement policies in the Official Plan and performance standards in the Zoning By-law. City of Brampton will modify their by-law to further accommodate Bill 140 and changes to the Planning Act.

Following  the release of the Province’s Long-Term Affordable Housing Strategy, Planning staff provided a Status Report to Planning, Design and Development Committee on April 4, 2011, the City staff was directed to propose a course of action for reviewing the City’s Official Plan and Zoning By-law in order to achieve conformity with the new requirements of the Planning Act. A second Status Report was presented at the November 21, 2011 Planning, Design and Development Committee meeting, outlining how the City staff plans to implement the legislation through a policy, by-law and licensing review. The report recommended that a Technical Advisory Committee be established to oversee the policy review. An inter-departmental team has been created and includes staff from the Chief Administrator's Office, Planning, Building, By-law Enforcement and Fire & Emergency Services. A Recommendation Report was presented to Committee of Council meeting of May 16, 2012, seeking direction to proceed with the Open Houses (public consultation sessions) across the City. Five public consultation sessions were held during the month of June 2012 to receive input on the Second Units Policy Review. The presentations are available in English, Punjabi and Hindi.  Following these sessions, a Public Consultation Summary Report was prepared by Lura Consulting. Two additional Open Houses (public consultation sessions) were held in May 2013 and June 2013 to provide additional opportunity to comment on the City’s proposed approach for permitting Second Units in Brampton.  A second Recommendation Report was presented to Committee of Council Meeting of June 12, 2013 to present the results of the Open Houses and a refined approach.  A statutory Public Meeting was held on October 7, 2013 to provide the public an opportunity to comment on the City’s draft Official Plan Amendment and draft Zoning By-law Amendment for permitting second units. Next Steps November 2013 - Staff to review public input and agency comments December 2013 - Staff to prepare a Recommendation Report, including an education strategy and Registration By-law. Council adoption of the proposed Official Plan Amendment, Zoning By-law Amendment and Registration By-law is anticipated.

City of Burlington - Requirements to legalize basement apartment Allowed only in detached homes           Minimum Basement Apartment floor Area – 42 m² (452 ft²) Maximum Basement Apartment floor Area – 30% of the total floor area of the house Minimum frontage of the Lot 15 m (50 ft) Minimum rear yard of the Lot - 135 m² (1,453 ft²) One parking space per basement unit (two parking spaces are required in some instances) Driveway maximum width– 7.35 m (24 ft) on 15 m (50 ft) lots Maximum hard surface – 50% No parking in rear yard Separate exterior entrance required but prohibited on front elevation

The City of Cambridge - Requirements to approve a legal basement apartment The City of Cambridge Draft Official Plan – Public Consultation Draft June 2011 Residential Lands, Secondary Residential Unit The City will encourage the establishment of a secondary residential unit within or attached to the existing residential buildings in all zones where residential uses are permitted without amendment to the City’s Zoning By-law. Secondary residential units must be in accordance with the  following criteria: a) appropriate parking arrangement can be accommodated on the property; b) no separate access to a municipal road is required; c) the secondary residential unit is compatible with neighbouring residential properties and the surrounding residential neighbourhood; d) adequate potable water and wastewater treatment is available to accommodate the secondary residential unit; e) the secondary residential unit is subordinate in scale and function to the main dwelling unit; and f) compliance with the City’s minimum standards of maintenance and occupancy, and other applicable legislation.

Town of East Gwillimbury - Registration of a legal basement apartment Registration fee for basement apartment is $1,000

City of Guelph - By-law requirements to legalize a basement apartment Permitted within a single-detached or semi-detached houses One additional off-street parking space required - must have a double driveway. To avoid street accessibility issues, requiring two parking spaces to be accessible at all times provides the opportunity for one car from each unit to havedirect access to the roadway. Maximum size to be 80 m² (860 ft²) and not more than 45% of the principal dwelling’s total floor area Maximum of two bedrooms External appearance of the front facade of the house must be preserved Must preserve front facade Maintain single entry (i.e. rear yards not to be divided) Basement Apartment Registration Fee: $100 - But 5-year period without fee to encourage existing units to be legalized City of Guelph Zoning By-Law 4.15.1 For the purposes of Section 4.15, the following terms shall have the corresponding meaning: “Floor Area” means the total Floor Area of the Building measured from the exterior face of outside walls, or centre line of common walls, including Cellars and Basements with a floor to ceiling height of at least 1.95 metres. Floor Area does not include stairs, landings, cold Cellars, Garage and Carports. Section 2.7 does not apply to the floor to ceiling height of 1.95 metres. Any Accessory Apartment shall be developed in accordance with the following provisions: The external appearance of all Building Facades and outdoor Amenity Areas shall be preserved except dual service meters shall be permitted. An Accessory Apartment shall only be permitted within a Single-Detached or Semi-Detached Dwelling. A maximum of one Accessory Apartment shall be permitted in a Single-Detached Dwelling or in each half of a Semi-Detached Dwelling,  provided that the Single-detached Dwelling of Semi-detached Dwelling is a conforming Use in the Zone in which it is located. Parking for the Accessory Apartment shall be development in accordance with Section 4.13 (4.13 Semi-detached with an Accessory Apartment: 3 spaces, Single-detached with an Accessory Apartment: 3 spaces). Notwithstanding Section and the required off-street parking space for an Accessory Apartment may be stacked behind the required off-street parking space of the host Dwelling in the driveway. A maximum of 2 parking spaces are permitted in a stacked arrangement. The Accessory Apartment shall not exceed 45% of the total Floor Area of the Building and shall not exceed a maximum of 80 square metres in Floor Area, whichever is lesser. The Accessory Apartment shall not contain more than two bedrooms.

City of Hamilton allows to legalize basement apartmentsard specific - Allowed singles and semi-detached homes, varies by ward Can be appropriately serviced Minimum two on-site parking spaces must be provide No alteration to external appearance Must preserve streetscape character No impact on surrounding neighbourhood

Kitchener now allows legal basement apartments Kitchener already allows for basement apartments in most areas of the city

City of Markham - Legal Basement Apartment Requirements  (Proposed Changes as per Bill 140 did NOT get approved)

Permitted within any single or semi-detached housesNo additional parking space requiredMust be secondary to primary dwellingNo more than one basement apartment per lotMaximum basement apartment floor area not to exceed 45% of floor area of primary unit (as existed before basement apartment)Minimum basement apartment floor area 35 m² (376 ft²)Maximum driveway width is equal or greater ofGarage Door width plus 2 m provided in the case of a lot with a lot frontage less than 10.1 m (33 ft), a minimum of 25% soft landscaping is provided in the front or exterior yard in which the driveway is located and in the case of a lot with lot frontage 10.1 m (33 ft)or greater, a minimum of 40% soft landscaping is provided in the front or exterior side yard in which the driveway is located or up to 6.1 m (20 ft), provided a minimum of 40% soft landscaping is provided in the front or exterior side yard in which the driveway is located.Subject to property standardsNot be conspicuous from the street or change appearance of dwellingNo entrance through garage doorInitial inspection by Fire Department $300. Basement Apartment Registration $150Inspection and Registration every 3 years


Town of Milton - Requirements to allow legal basement apartments in Milton Currently basement apartments in Town of Milton are permitted as per the Zoning By-law 144-2003 section in a single detached houses only, provided that: i) Only one basement apartment unit shall be permitted per lot and shall be located within the main house; ii) A minimum of one parking space per basement apartment unit is provided; iii) The house must be on full municipal water and waste water services; and, iv) The basement apartment shall not exceed a maximum size of the 65 m² (700 ft²) Town of Milton will modify their by-law to further accommodate Bill 140 and changes to the Planning Act. Town of Milton was also designated an Urban Growth Centre by the Province of Ontario's Places to Grow Plan with which requires Town of Milton to "Intensify" population within a defined built boundary.  

City of Mississauga - Requirements to permit legal basement apartments in Mississauga Mississauga City Council approved a plan to permit second units on July 3, 2013. The plan includes official plan policies, zoning regulations and licensing requirements. It will be in full force in January 2014. Legal second units must have a City of Mississauga licence. To be allowed in city wide - detached, semi-detached and townhouse (maximum one basement apartment per house)

  • Minimum setback of 1.2 m for new entrances

  • Basement apartment cannot change existing use of dwelling

  • Minimum gross floor area of a basement apartment shall be 35m²  (377 ft²t)

  • Basement apartment shall not occupy more than 50% of the gross floor area residential of the dwelling within which it is located

  • A new pedestrian entrance facing a street or a private road or to facilitate a second unit, shall not be permitted;

  • One on-site parking space for basement apartment in addition to required parking for dwelling.

  • Tandem parking spaces to accommodate a basement apartment shall be permitted;

  • Only one driveway per lot

  • Prohibit new entrances facing street

  • Prohibit exterior entrance above first floor

  • Prohibit stairs, stairwells for entrances below grade facing a street

  • Registration of Basement Apartment $500 for owner occupied home & $1,000 for investment property

  • Investment license would require minor variance

The following documents are also required to apply for licence for a basement apartment. Letter from the Fire Chief stating that an inspection has been conducted of the location, within thirty (30) days of the date the application for the Licence is submitted, and it is in compliance with all the provisions of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, S.O. 1997;

Certificate of Inspection report issued by the Electrical Safety Authority certifying that an inspection has been conducted on the location, within thirty (30) days of the date the application for the Licence, and that there are no visible fire , shock or electrical safety hazards and the property is in compliance with the requirements of the Ontario Electrical Safety Code.

Proof of Insurance which the Owner shall take out and keep in full force and effect throughout the term of the Licence and any renewals thereof, general liability insurance in respect to the Second Unit against claims for personal injury, death or property damage or loss, indemnifying and protecting the Owner, their respective employees, servants, agents, contractors, invitees or licensees, to the inclusive limit of not less than Two Million ($2,000,000) Dollars on a per occurrence basis. Such insurance shall specifically state by its wording or by endorsement that:

(i) The Corporation of the City of Mississauga is included as an additional insured under the policy; and Such policy shall not be terminated, cancelled or materially altered unless written notice of such termination, cancellation or material alteration is provided by the insurers to the Corporation of the City of Mississauga at least thirty (30) clear days before the effective date thereof.

Every Owner shall:

(a) Keep and maintain the following written records and shall make these records available for inspection forthwith on the request of the Licence Manager or Officer:

(b) The full name of the Tenant(s);

(c) Records of inspections every three (3) months for Investor-Dwellings.

(d) Post a fire safety plan, approved by the Fire Chief in a conspicuous place in the Second Unit.

(e) Ensure that each floor of the Dwelling is equipped with a functioning Fire Extinguisher.

(f) Provide written proof that the Tenants have been advised that the Licence Manager or Officer will be requesting permission to enter all Second Units on the Property (at a time and day convenient to the City, the Licensee and the Tenants) for the purposes of conducting inspections under this By-law.

(g) Maintain compliance with all applicable provisions of the Zoning By-law as it relates to a Second Unit, including any conditions imposed by the Committee of Adjustment for a minor variance.

(h) Either personally or by their Agent, conduct an inspection of the Investor- Dwellings every three (3) months to ensure compliance with this By-law and any other applicable law and file an inspection report on the form provided by the Licensing Section including all remediation action to be taken, and a time frame for gaining compliance where non-compliance isfound by March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31 of each calendar year.

(i) Submit in writing, the name, address and contact information for any individual that will be acting as their Agent for the purposes of conducting and reporting on inspections, where applicable.

(j) Ensure that the current Business Licence Number for the Licenced Dwelling appears on all advertisement for the business.

No Licenced Owner shall: (a) Permit the occupancy of, for sleeping purposes, any basement or any space used or designed to be used as a lobby, hallway, closet, bathroom, laundry room, stairway or kitchen or any room having a floor area of less than 80 square feet or any room being less than 7 feet 6 inches from the floor to ceiling.

(b) Permit non-compliance with the Property Standards By-law, the Nuisance Weeds and Long Grass By-law, the Nuisance Noise By-law, the Nuisance Lighting By-law, Open Air Burning, the Noise Control By-law and all other applicable by-laws and applicable provincial laws including but not limited to the Building Code Act, the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, and the Accessibility for Ontarians with Disabilities Act.

(c) Permit the construction, renovation, alteration or addition is carried out on the Licensed Dwelling without first obtaining the necessary Building Permit as may be required.


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