LEGAL BASEMENT APARTMENT
BASIC REQUIREMENTS TO LEGALIZE A BASEMENT APARTMENT
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
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. Building a Second Unit in a house more
than 5 years old. Part 11 of the Building Code applies.
When the house has been in existence five years or less, the accessory apartment is reviewed under Part 9, Division B of the Ontario Building
Code, and the construction requirements of the Code are more restrictive.
Typical Building Code requirements for an accessory apartment that is five years old or less are as follows, but not limited to:
Minimum window areas for light are 10% of the floor area for living/dining rooms, and 5% of the floor area for bedrooms
Exit requirements, including possible window requirements used for emergency access - Unless a door at the same floor level provides access
directly to the exterior, there must be a minimum of one window for egress that is openable from the inside without tools, provides an individual,
unobstructed open portion having a minimum area of 0.35 sq.m (3.8sq.ft) and no dimension less than 380mm (15”) and does not require
additional support to keep it open. (only openable portion of slider can be used for these dimensions)
- Fire separations - 45 minute horizontal and vertical (i.e. wall and ceiling) separation required between units including the supporting
construction. Dampers and fire stopping required.
- Sound transmission requirements - Sound attenuation required between units.
- Separate heating systems
- Plumbing requirements
- Laundry facilities or shared laundry facilities in a room separated by fire separations
- Hard-wired, interconnected smoke alarms located within the dwelling unit, each bedroom and all shared areas
- Carbon monoxide detectors, within each dwelling unit adjacent to each sleeping area
- Special construction requirements for any basement walk down exterior access
- Design of areas, spaces and ceiling heights - 2.3 m (7’-7’’) over at least 75% of the required floor area with a clear height of 2.1 m (6’
-11’) at any point in Living Room, Dining Room & Kitchen
- Clear height of 2.1 m (6’-11’’) at any point in Bedrooms.
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
It’s important that landlord should have a proper home insurance coverage. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, if something were to
happen – such as a fire in the basement apartment – and the insurance provider is unaware that a tenant is living the basement apartment, the
home insurance policy could be voided.
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) The basement apartment must be smaller than the main dwelling unit.
(4) Minimum ceiling height is 6'11" which is allowed to be reduced to 6'5" underneath beams and ducts. Ceiling must be continuous. Suspended
(T-bar type) ceilings and exposed joists are not acceptable. Furnace room ceiling must be dry walled too.
(5) Doors must be solid wood or metal with a minimum thickness is 1.75". Exterior basement entry door must be at least 32"x78". Basement
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. A basement containing bedrooms will require direct access to outdoors for escape in case of fire. This may be provided
through a basement walkout door or an egress window operable without the use of tools. When open, all window components must be self-
supporting. Window wells must not encroach onto adjacent properties. The smallest allowable dimension of the basement window is 18" and the
opening must be at least 600 sq in. Basement 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 and must mot encroach onto adjacent properties. Windows in walls that are closer than 4 ft to the property line
require a fire rating protection of 45 minutes.
(6) Basement bathrooms must 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 Municipal By-laws. They are to be provided in each dwelling unit in a building containing a fuel fired appliance or an attached garage.
Smoke alarms must be installed in each dwelling unit on every floor including those containing a bedroom or sleeping area and in each hallway
leading to the bedrooms. The smoke 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) Electrical work requires a separate permit and Inspection Report from the Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) to ensure compliance with the
Ontario Electrical Safety Code. An electrical inspection by the 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 self closing fire rated doors installed in hollow metal or solid wood frames
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.
Windows in walls that are closer than 4 ft to the property line require a fire rating protection of 45 minutes.
Central vacuum systems cannot serve more than one suite
20 Minute Fire Rated doors are required between the units with closers.
(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) The Ontario Building Code (O.B.C Part 9 Section 9 Clause 11.2) also requires a 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.
(14) BEDROOM MEASUREMENT - Ontario Building Code (184.108.40.206.), (220.127.116.11.)
• At least one bedroom shall be of an area not less than 105 square feet or 9.8 square meters where there are no built in cabinets. Where there
are built in cabinets or closets, not less than 95 square feet or 8.8 square meters, exclusive of the area taken by the closets or cabinets.
• All other bedrooms shall be of an area not less than 75 square feet or 7 square meters, exclusive of the area taken by the closets or cabinets.
MINIMUM ROOM HEIGHT: - Ontario Building Code (9.5.3.)
1) The living room, dining room and kitchen is required to have at least 75% of the floor area at 7ft 7in with a clear height of 6ft 11in at any point
over the required area.
2) Bedrooms are required to have at least 50% of the required area at 7ft 7in or 6ft 11in over all the required floor areas. Any part of the floor
having a clear height of less than 4ft 7in shall not be considered computing the required floor area.
3) The basement space is required to have a minimum height of 6ft 11in over at least 75% of the basement area. Except that under beams and
ducts the clearance is permitted to be reduced to 6ft. 5in.
4) Bathrooms or laundry area above grade is required to have a height of 6ft. 11in. This would be in any area where a person would normally be
in a standing position.
5) Passages, hallways, main entrance, vestibules and/or finished rooms not mentioned above is required to have a height of 6ft. 11in.
At least one bedroom shall be of an area not less than 105 sq ft where there are no built in cabinets. Where there are built in cabinets or closets,
not less than 95 sq ft exclusive of the area taken by the closets or cabinets.
Living Room shall be of an area not less than 145 ft²
Kitchen shall be of an area not less than 45 ft² (40 ft² for one bedroom basement apartment)
Dining Room shall be of an area not less than 75 ft²
Laundry, washroom, kitchen, storage rooms do not require windows.
Each bedroom needs natural light
For houses older than 5 years Living and Dining rooms require a minimum window glass area of 5% of the floor area served.
For houses older than 5 years Bedrooms require a minimum window glass area of 2.5% of the floor area served.
Parking is required for both units. Curb cut and/or a site alteration permit may be required for new parking spaces.
ELECTRIC OR GAS RANGE SAFETY MEASUREMENTS:
A minimum vertical clearance of 2ft 6in above the level of the range to framing, finishes and cabinets is required. Alternatively, clearance may be
reduced to 2ft provided a metal hood is installed which projects 4 7/8 in. beyond the framing, finishes or cabinets.
Doors must have a gap under them for rooms without return air ductwork. The principal exhaust fan in a house containing five (5) bedrooms or
less shall comply with O.B.C. Table 18.104.22.168.A. If the number of bedrooms exceeds five (5), a review of the house’s existing mechanical
ventilation system is required to determine if the system is sufficient to handle the additional loads
NATURAL VENTILATION : (OBC 22.214.171.124.)]
(only applies where dwelling is naturally ventilated)
• Bathrooms must have a minimum required unobstructed openable window area of 0.97 sq.ft. or mechanical ventilation is required.
• The Unfinished Basement Space is required to have a minimum unobstructed ventilation equal to 0.2% of the floor area
• Dining rooms, living rooms, bedrooms, kitchens, common space, and all other rooms are required to have a minimum unobstructed ventilation
equal to 3 sq ft .(0.28 sq m) per room or combination of rooms.
Storage Rooms in the Basement
A storage closet should NOT be located within a shared exit stair facility.
Ontario Building Code 126.96.36.199. Ancillary Rooms
(1) Ancillary rooms such as storage rooms, washrooms, toilet rooms, laundry rooms and service rooms shall not open directly into an exit.
A storage room accessible by both tenants should be fire compartmentalized
Ontario Building Code 188.8.131.52. Storage Rooms
(1) Rooms for the temporary storage of combustible refuse in all occupancies or for public storage in residential occupancies shall be separated
from the remainder of the building by a fire separation having not less than a 1 hour fire resistance rating, except that a 45 min fire separation is
permitted where the fire-resistance rating of the floor assembly is not required to exceed 45 min, or where such rooms are sprinklered.
Sprinklers may also be used in furnace room containing the furnace and water heater as an alternative to a fire rated ceiling.
Ontario Building Code 184.108.40.206. Separation of Service Rooms
(1) Service rooms shall be separated from the remainder of the building by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating of not less than 1
hour when the floor area containing the service room is not sprinklered.
Ontario Building Code 220.127.116.11. Laundry Fixtures
(1) Laundry facilities or a space for laundry facilities shall be provided in every dwelling unit or grouped elsewhere in the building in a location
conveniently accessible to occupants of every dwelling unit.
Ontario Building code 18.104.22.168. Shared Egress Facilities
(1) A dwelling unit shall be provided with a second and separate means of egress where an egress door from the dwelling unit opens onto,
(a) an exit stairway serving more than one suite,
(b) a public corridor,
(i) serving more than one suite, and
(ii) served by a single exit,
(c) an exterior passageway,
(i) serving more than one suite,
(ii) served by a single exit stairway or ramp, and
(iii) more than 1.5 m above adjacent ground level, or
(d) a balcony,
(i) serving more than one suite,
(ii) served by a single exit stairway or ramp, and
(iii) more than 1.5 m above adjacent ground level.
Ontario Building Code 22.214.171.124. Fire Separation for Exits
(1) Except as provided in Sentence (5) and Article 126.96.36.199., every exit other than an exit doorway shall be separated from each adjacent floor
area or from another exit by a fire separation having a fire-resistance rating not less than that required for the floor assembly above the floor
(2) Where there is no floor assembly above, the fire-resistance rating required in Sentence (1) shall not be less than that required by Subsection
9.10.8. for the floor assembly below, but in no case shall the fire-resistance rating be less than 45 min.
(3) A fire separation common to two exits shall be smoke-tight and not be pierced by doorways, duct work, piping or any other opening that may
affect the continuity of the separation.
(4) A fire separation that separates an exit from the remainder of the building shall have no openings except those for electrical wiring,
noncombustible conduit and noncombustible piping that serve only the exit, and for standpipes, sprinkler piping, exit doorways and wired glass
and glass block permitted in Article 188.8.131.52.
(5) The requirements in Sentence (1) do not apply to an exterior exit passageway provided the passageway has at least 50% of its exterior sides
open to the outdoors and is served by an exit stair at each end of the passageway.
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
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 in Ajax
Legal basement apartments are permitted in Town of Ajax in all residential zones, excluding RM4, RM5, and RM6.
To permit an basement apartment in Ajax must meet the following requirements:
The Town of Ajax requires minimum of three off-street parking spaces - Two parking spaces for the principal dwelling unit and one additional
parking space for the basement apartment.
Town of Ajax requires 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 in Ajax 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 by the Town of Ajax.
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.
Town of Aurora - Requirements to Legalize Basement Apartment
Town of Aurora only permits one unit to have a home occupation.
The minimum floor Area of the Basement Apartment permitted by the Town of Aurora is 35 square metres (377 sq ft).
Town of Aurora won't allow basement apartments in the Oak Ridges Moraine Settlement Area where a zone symbol is followed by the letters
"ORM” in accordance with the Oak Ridges Moraine Conservation Plan, Amendment # 48 to the Town Aurora Official Plan.
Where three or more link house dwelling units are joined, a second suite dwelling unit shall be permitted by the Town of Aurora, provided that the
link house dwelling unit is joined only below grade
Town of Aurora does not permit basement apartments in buildings located within the flooding and erosion hazard limits of all watercourses.
Town of Aurora's fee for basement apartment registration is $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 - Requirements to legalize a basement apartment in Brampton
Basement apartments are permitted in detached, semi-detached and townhouse dwellings in Brampton, subject to City of Brampton zoning
requirements and restrictions. In order to be legal, basement apartments must be registered with the City of Brampton.
Registering a basement apartment is a one-time process to make the house safe for all the occupants. To be legal, a basement apartment must
be registered with the City of Brampton and the registration may require the following:
Basement apartments that have been previously declared Legal Non-Conforming by the City of Brampton do not need to comply with the new
- Completed Application for Registration
- Payment of non-refundable application deposit ($200)
- Legal survey of the property
- Fully dimensioned Site Plan (may be included in the survey), including, building setbacks, setback to any side entrance into the second
unit, location of any air conditioning units, accessory structures or encroachments in the side yard, driveway length, width and configuration
- Floor plans: - showing the location and layout of each unit - including total floor area measurement for each unit
City of Brampton zoning provisions for two-unit dwellings. Certification of Legal Non-Conforming status must be submitted with the application for
registration. If the basement apartment has been declared Legal Non-Conforming, the owner of the property will be directed to contact Brampton
Fire and Emergency Services to arrange for a Fire Code inspection ($400).Fire staff will inspect the house to ensure it complies with the Fire
Code and identify any required upgrades. If upgrades are required, a building permit must be obtained from the City of Brampton. Once any
required upgrades are completed, a final inspection will be done by Fire staff.
Final registration requires:
- Occupancy permit and Electrical Safety Authority (ESA) inspection report OR
- Confirmation of compliance with the Fire Code (includes ESA inspection)
Verification of homeowner’s insurance AND
Payment of final registration fee
A registration system also helps the City of Brampton identify the location of basement apartments in Brampton. This information is shared with
the Brampton Fire Department; in case of emergency, the Brampton Fire Department will know there is a basement apartment in the house
before they even arrive. This can save precious seconds in a life or death situation.
Under the policies of City of Brampton, City of Brampton Zoning By-law requires a basement apartment to comply with the following requirements
- Only one basement apartment is permitted per house in Brampton.
- The City of Brampton permits basement apartment In a bungalow, up to 75% of the bungalow's ground floor area. For all other houses,
the City of Brampton permits basement apartment up to 45% of the "Gross Floor Area" which the total area of each floor of the house, not
including unfinished basement/cellar, garage/carport, Porch/balcony and floor area used for mechanical or electrical equipment
- The City of Brampton requires one parking space for the basement apartment in addition to the required parking for the primary unit. For
most homes in Brampton, a total of three parking spaces will be required. All parking spaces must be located entirely within the property
boundaries. Parking Space may include spaces in the garage and/or tandem parking spaces, but may not include the street or boulevard.
Required parking spaces must measure at least 2.7 m wide by 5.4 m long.
- The City of Brampton requires a 1.2 m (4 ft) clear path of travel to a separate side entrance door to the basement or rear yard that
provides access to a basement entry door to provide safe entry/exit from the basement apartment, and to allow access for the City of
Brampton's emergency services. Most houses in Brampton have 1.2 m (4ft) on at least one side. For houses that don’t have an access to
the basement apartment, the City of Brampton allows separate entrance door to the basement apartment from inside the garage or
through a common foyer inside the house.
The fees for registering a basement apartment in Brampton are as follows:
- Initial review for zoning compliance by City of Brampton – $200 (non-refundable)
- City of Brampton Registration fee: $500 (owner-occupied dwelling) or $1,000 (non-owner occupied)
- Applicable building permit fees – approximately $1,000
City of Burlington - Requirements to legalize a basement apartment
Even before the Bill 140 was enacted in 2011, City of Burlington had passed a bylaw in April 2008 to allow residents in specific areas to have
legal basement apartments in their existing homes. There are about 25,000 properties which may be eligible to have legal basement apartments
under the new bylaw, although the City of Burlington expects only a fraction of them to be built. While properties may be eligible have a
basement apartment, there are still City of Burlington bylaws and certain restrictions that would affect whether or not basement apartment could
Basement Apartments are permitted in all R1 zones, all R2 zones, and in R3.1 and R3.2 zones only, subject to the following regulations:
Permitted in a detached dwelling only
Lot Width:- 15 metres
Notwithstanding the above, a basement apartment is permitted within a detached dwelling that existed on the date of enactment of the City of
Burlington by-law 2020 that is situated on a lot with a width of less than 15 metres, only provided that as of the date of enactment of By-law
2020.244 (April 28, 2008), the dwelling contained an existing garage with a minimum width of 6 m.
Floor Area of basement apartment: - Minimum 42 sq m (452 sq ft); Maximum 100 sq m (1.076 sq ft)
Floor Area of the basement apartment shall not be in excess of 40% of the total floor area of the residential building. For purposes of this
footnote, a finished basement forming part of a dwelling unit is defined as floor area.
Total Rear Yard Amenity Area for the principal dwelling unit and basement apartment: minimum 135 sq m (1.453 sq ft)
The basement apartment shall have its own exterior entrance separate from the exterior entrance to the principal dwelling unit; except that, a
separate entrance to the basement apartment on the front elevation of the building shall be prohibited and access to a principal dwelling and
basement apartment through a common vestibule is permitted.
Driveway Width on a lot containing an accessory dwelling unit: Minimum - 6 m (19'9") Maximum 7.35m (24'2")
On lots containing a basement apartment, a maximum of 50% of the lot area between a street line and the building elevation facing the street
may be used for driveways, walkways and patios, the remaining 50% shall be landscaped open area.
Parking: One space for basement apartment is required - tandem parking for the one additional space to serve the principal dwelling unit and
the space to serve the basement apartment is not permitted. Parking for the principal dwelling and the basement apartment shall not be
permitted in that portion of the rear yard defined as the area between the extension of the two lines projected backward from the two side walls of
Notwithstanding the above parking provisions:
where a lot containing a basement apartment fronts on a Major Arterial, Arterial Road or Collector Road as shown on Schedule ‘B’ of Part 1,
General Conditions and Provisions, (unless lay-by parking exists on the street in front of the lot); or
where a lot containing a basement apartment is a parcel of tied land fronting on a common element road; or
where a lot containing a basement apartment fronts on any one of the streets listed in Table 184.108.40.206;
Two parking spaces per basement apartment are required. Tandem parking for the second parking space to serve the basement apartment is
The City of Cambridge - Requirements to approve a legal basement apartment
The City of Cambridge Draft Official Plan – Public Consultation Draft June 2011 220.127.116.11 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
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.
Municipality Clarington which includes Bowmanville, Courtice, Newcastle and Orono
A basement apartment is permitted by Municipality of Clarington which includes Bowmanville, Courtice, Newcastle and Orono in a fully municipally
serviced single detached or semi-detached house in urban residential areas subject to the following:
- Only one basement apartment is permitted
- One additional parking space is provided for the basement apartment - tandem parking is allowed
- Minimum Size of the Second Suite - 40 sq m (430 sq. ft)
- Compliance with the Ontario Building Code and Ontario Fire Code
- The second unit is registered with the Municipality of Clarington .
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 have
direct 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:
18.104.22.168 The external appearance of all Building Facades and outdoor Amenity Areas shall be preserved except dual service meters shall be
22.214.171.124 An Accessory Apartment shall only be permitted within a Single-Detached or Semi-Detached Dwelling.
126.96.36.199 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.
188.8.131.52 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).
184.108.40.206.1 Notwithstanding Section 220.127.116.11 and 18.104.22.168 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
22.214.171.124 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.
126.96.36.199 The Accessory Apartment shall not contain more than two bedrooms.
Town of Georgina - Requirements to legalize a basement apartment
Permitted within a single family home, semi-detached home or townhouse
One basement apartment permitted per lot
Only one entrance to a house is permitted on the front facade
Four parking spaces are required
Not permitted within any house serviced by a private septic system which is located within 100 m of the Lake Simcoe shoreline or any permanent
Not permitted in lands affected by flooding, erosion or located within hazardous lands identified by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation
Authority, unless a permit is issued by the Conservation Authority
City of Hamilton allows to legalize basement apartments
Ward specific - Allowed singles and semi-detached homes, varies by ward
Can be appropriately serviced
Minimum two on-site parking spaces must be provided
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 houses
- No additional parking space required
- Must be secondary to primary dwelling
- No more than one basement apartment per lot
- Maximum 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 of
- Garage 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 standards
- Not be conspicuous from the street or change appearance of dwelling
- No entrance through garage door
- Initial inspection by the Fire Department $300. Basement Apartment Registration $150
- Inspection and Registration every 3 years
Town of Midland
Permitted within a single-detached dwelling
One basement apartment per single-detached house
The external appearance of the front facade of the single-detached house or any other facade facing a street on which the lot has frontage shall
Minimum floor area of 35 m² (376 ft²) and shall not exceed 45% of the total floor area of the single-detached house or a maximum of 80 m² (861
ft²) in floor area
Two parking spaces required (one for each dwelling unit)
Basement apartment must be registered with the Town of Midland every 3 years
Building permit and inspection fees for existing units waived for a period of 1-year
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 188.8.131.52 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)
The Town of Milton will modify their by-law to further accommodate Bill 140 and changes to the Planning Act. The Town of Milton was also
designated an Urban Growth Centre by the Province of Ontario's Places to Grow Plan with which requires the Town of Milton to "Intensify"
population within a defined built boundary.
City of Mississauga - Requirements to permit legal basement apartments in Mississauga
The Mississauga City Council approved a plan to permit basement apartments on July 3, 2013. The City of Mississauga's plan includes official
plan policies, zoning regulations and licensing requirements. Legal basement apartments must have a City of Mississauga licence.
- The City of Mississauga allows basement apartments Mississauga wide in detached, semi-detached and townhouse (maximum one
basement apartment per house)
- The City of Mississauga requires a minimum setback of 1.2 m (4 ft) for new entrances
- The City of Mississauga doesn't permit basement apartment to change the existing use of dwelling
- The City of Mississauga requires a minimum of 35 m² (377 ft²) gross floor area for a basement apartment
- The City of Mississauga doesn't permit basement apartment to occupy more than 50% of the gross floor area of the residential of the
dwelling within which it is located
- The City of Mississauga doesn't allow new pedestrian entrance facing a street or a private road or to facilitate a basement apartment.
- The City of Mississauga requires one on-site parking space for basement apartment in addition to the required parking for dwelling.
Tandem parking spaces to accommodate a basement apartment are permitted by the City of Mississauga;
- The City of Mississauga allows only one driveway per lot
- The City of Mississauga prohibits new entrances facing street
- The City of Mississauga prohibits exterior entrance above first floor
- The City of Mississauga prohibits stairs, stairwells for entrances below grade facing a street
- The fee for registering basement apartment in the City of Mississauga is $500 for owner occupied home & $1,000 for investment property
- Investment license would require minor variance by the City of Mississauga.
The following documents are also required by the City of Mississauga to apply for licence for a basement apartment in Mississauga.
- Letter from the Mississauga Fire Chief stating that an inspection has been conducted at the basement apartment, within 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.
- Certificate of Inspection report issued by the Electrical Safety Authority certifying that an inspection has been conducted at the basement
apartment, within 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 basement apartment 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 $2,000,000 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 30 clear days before the effective date thereof
Every Owner shall:
- Keep and maintain the following written records and shall make these records available for inspection forthwith on the request of the City
of Mississauga officials.
- The full name of the Tenant(s);
- Records of inspections every three (3) months for Investor-Dwellings.
- Post a fire safety plan, approved by the Mississauga Fire Chief in a conspicuous place in the basement apartment. Ensure that each floor
of the Dwelling is equipped with a functioning Fire Extinguisher.
- Provide written proof that the Tenants have been advised that the City of Mississauga Licence Manager or Officer will be requesting
permission to enter all basement apartment on the Property (at a time and day convenient to the City of Mississauga, the Licensee and
the Tenants) for the purposes of conducting inspections.
- Maintain compliance with all applicable provisions of the Zoning By-law as it relates to a basement apartment, including any conditions
imposed by the Committee of Adjustment for a minor variance.
- Either personally or by their Agent, conduct an inspection of the Investor- Dwellings every 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 is found by March 31, June 30, September 30 and December 31
of each calendar year. 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. Ensure that the current Business Licence Number for the
Licenced Dwelling appears on all advertisement for the business.
No Licenced Owners in Mississauga shall:
- 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 sq ft or any room being less than 7 feet 6
inches from the floor to ceiling.
- Permit non-compliance with the Property Standards By-law of City of Mississauga, the Nuisance Weeds and Long Grass By-law of the City
of Mississauga, the Nuisance Noise By-law of the City of Mississauga, the Nuisance Lighting By-law of the City of Mississauga, Open Air
Burning, the Noise Control By-law of the City Mississauga and all other applicable by-laws of City of Mississauga and applicable Province
of Ontario laws including but not limited to the Building Code Act, the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, and the Accessibility for
Ontarians with Disabilities Act.
- Permit the construction, renovation, alteration or addition is carried out on the Licensed Dwelling without first obtaining the necessary
Building Permit form the City of Mississauga.
Basement Apartment Renovation Assistance program helps homeowners cover the cost of renovations to an existing basement
apartment to improve health and safety, increase accessibility and obtain basement apartment license.
- A yearly household income of $87,800 or less
- Have an existing basement apartment that requires renovations and/or upgrades in order to apply for a basement apartment license from
the City of Mississauga
- Have submitted drawings of basement apartment renovations by a qualified designer like Building Experts Canada to the City of
Mississauga and have had a building permit granted to commence work.
- A “Building Renovator License” may be required under City of Mississauga Business Licensing By-Law 1-06, as amended, for those
performing the renovation work.
Please contact the Region of Peel at 905 791 7800 Extension 8032 for more information.
Town of Newmarket - Requirements for approval of basement apartments in Newmarket
Permitted city wide in all single family or two family zone (in single detached, semi-detached, or row house dwellings)
Residences with basement apartments are required to have a minimum of four exterior parking spaces not including the garage). To obtain
additional parking spaces contact the Town's Planning department at 905-953-5300 ext. 2450 or email@example.com. A smaller parking
space size 2.6m x 5.7m is used to provide more ‘wiggle’ room to accommodate the four required paring spaces in Newmarket. The Town of
Newmarket Committee of Adjustment has approved three applications for a reduction in number of parking spaces since 2003 when the recent
policies were implemented. Four parking space requirement precludes basement apartments within some of the newer residential developments,
due to smaller lots restricting the ability to widen driveways.
The primary dwelling and basement apartment must be serviced by full municipal water and sewer
Front facade shall not be altered. The external appearance of the house must not be altered
No new basement apartments will be permitted within the Environmental Protection Open Space (OS-EP) Zone or within the Floodplain and Other
Natural Hazards (FP-NH) Zone as delineated by the Lake Simcoe Region Conservation Authority.
Basement Apartment must locate within main dwelling
Daycare is not permitted in the basement apartment
In 2013, The Town of Newmarket passed an amended By-law 2013-13 which requires all residences with baseent apartments to register their
units through a one-time application process with the Town of Newmarket's Legislative Services Department.When you register your basement
apartment, you will receive a small "N" plate (N for Newmarket) to put on the front of your home which identifies that the residence has a
basement apartment. The basement apartment will also be assigned the letter "B" in the primary home address, to show it is a separate
residence. In case of emergency, the "N" plate and the "B" address will help emergency responders to know there are two units in the home -
saving time and potentially saving lives. Additionally, houses with an "N" plate are entitled to put out more garbage (from three bags per
household to six) and recycling items on their collection weeks, which also improves overall health and safety in the home.
To register your basement apartment, you must:
Complete an application form or get a hard copy at the Town's Municipal Offices located 395 Mulock Drive Newmarket
Pay the one -time application fee ($250+ HST= $282.50) at the Legislative Services desk at the Town's Municipal Offices, 395 Mulock Drive
File the appropriate documents and pay the applicable fees from the Fire Department and Electrical Safety Authority or a final building permit
Ensure there are no outstanding orders, notices or charges under the Property standards, garbage by-laws, zoning Bylaws.
The Town of Newmarket has a registration list containing all units that are registered. This list can be accessed by the public by calling the
Legislative Services Department at 905-953-5300 ext. 2220
For more information on registering your basement apartment call 905-895-5193 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Each dwelling unit in a two-unit house
shall be inspected by an Inspector to ensure that it complies with all relevant standards set out in
(a) the Ontario Building Code,
(b) the Ontario Fire Code,
(c) the Town’s Zoning By-law 2010-40, as amended,
(d) the Town’s Property Standards By-law 1999-34, as amended and,
(e) the Ontario Electrical Code.
In the event a dwelling unit has previously been inspected, only material changes completed after the initial inspection will be inspected.
City of Niagara Falls
Official Plan – Amended May 2011
4.6 Housing Strategy
An accessory apartment shall be permitted within a single detached dwelling in all residential areas provided that following criteria can be
4.6.1 The accessory apartment is subordinate in size to the principal use.
4.6.2 The lot size and configuration are sufficient to accommodate adequate parking, green space and amenity areas.
4.6.3 The building age and condition are capable of supporting the intensified use and requirements of the Building Code and Maintenance and
Occupancy Standards By-law can be satisfied.
4.6.4 Any proposed building addition for an accessory apartment satisfies the single detached zoning requirements relative to height, setbacks
and coverage for the entire dwelling and shall not detract from or alter the building form and/or character of the area.
Town of Oakville - Requirements to legalize basement apartment in Oakville
Oakville allows basement apartments in some areas. The current registration fee for a basement apartment is $300. In certain areas of town, like
North Oakville, they’re allowed because they fit. Other places where basement apartments don’t fit, they’re not allowed. Basement apartments
are allowed in newer areas, such as the burgeoning communities along Dundas Street.
Under the Livable Oakville Plan, Town of Oakville modified its by-law to further accommodate Bill 140 and changes to the Planning Act.
Establishing zoning regulations regarding location and additional requirements for basement apartments remains the responsibility of the Town
Town wide (currently only specific zones permit legal basement apartments)
The Town of Oakville's review of best practices identified that most zoning by-laws place a maximum size on basement apartment with additional
clauses dealing with design and compatibility measures (i.e. prohibiting a separate access to the accessory dwelling unit on the main front wall of
the detached dwelling), required minimum one parking space for the basement apartment, and additional location restrictions.
Where a basement apartment is permitted in a Residential Zone, the following regulations apply:
a) A maximum of one basement apartment is permitted on a lot.
b) A basement apartment is only permitted within a detached dwelling and semi-detached dwelling.
c) Notwithstanding subsection (b) above, a basement apartment is permitted within an accessory building on a corner lot in the Residential
Uptown Core (RUC) Zone.
d) A basement apartment shall occupy a maximum of the lesser of 40% of the residential floor area of the detached dwelling or semi-detached
dwelling or 75 square metres. For the purposes of this subsection, residential floor area shall include all area within a basement.
e) Any separate entrance and exit to the basement apartment shall be oriented toward the flankage lot line, interior side lot line, or rear lot line.
Subsections (b) and (d) above do not apply to a basement apartment that legally existed on or before November 16, 1995.
City of Oshawa
City of Oshawa permits basement apartments in single detached dwellings and semidetached dwellings within zones R1, R2, R5, OSR-A, OS-
ORM, AG-A, AG-B or AG-ORM.
The City of Oshawa doesn't permit accessory apartments within townhouses or accessory buildings related to single detached, semi-detached
and townhouse dwellings.
Oshawa's Zoning By-law requires minimum 11 m wide (36 ft) lot frontage.
Front yard must be at least 50% landscaped as per Oshawa's Zoning By-law.
City of Oshawa requires minimum of 3 parking spaces (2 of which are accessible to the street at all times).
Corner lots in Oshawa have additional requirements.
Drawings required by City of Oshawa must show existing floor plans of ALL levels in the house and a detailed floor plan of the new proposed
layout of the basement.
City of Pickering
City of Pickering requires all existing basement apartments to be registered. If a the basement apartment is not registered, it is illegal and is an
offence under City of Pickering By-law 6399/04
Requirements to legalize basement apartment in Pickering
- In order to be eligible to register as a legal basement apartment in Pickering, a house must be Detached or semi-detached. City of
Pickering does not permit basement apartments in townhouses.
- City of Pickering does not allow any home-based business - Home-based business is prohibited in either dwelling unit of a dwelling
containing a basement apartment by the City of Pickering.
- Minimum three on site parking spaces on the property are required by the City of Pickering.
- City of Pickering limits the size of the basement apartment to a maximum of 100 sq m or 1,076 sq ft and should be smaller than the
- City of Pickering requires a Basement Apartment Registration Fee of $500
- Basement apartments in Pickering must demonstrate compliance under Ontario Fire Code
Town of Richmond Hill
Requirements to legalize a basement apartment are still under development
To be allowed city wide in detached and semi detached homes
Maximum basement apartment floor area must not exceed 265m² (2,853 ft²)
Minimum frontage 9 m (30 ft)
Minimum lot area 30%
Minimum one additional parking space
Only one driveway apron shall be permitted to a lot with a frontage of less than 18 m (59 ft)
Driveway maximum – depends on lot size
Maximum hard surface – 55%
City of Toronto
The City of Toronto Zoning By-law – August 2010
- Allowed city wide in single & semi-detached homes
- Must be at least 5 years old
- Must be secondary in size to principle unit
- Minimum one parking space per unit
- Where two parking spaces required, one may be used for the basement apartment
- No additional or substantial alteration to exterior appearance of front or side of unit facing street is allowed.
10.5.80.10 Parking Location
…in the Residential Zone category a required parking space for a secondary suite in a detached house, semi-detached house or townhouse, or
for the dwelling units in a duplex, may be a parking space in tandem with another required parking space.
150.10.20 Use Regulations
A secondary suite may be located only in:
a) a detached house;
b) a semi-detached house; and
c) a townhouse if it is in an R zone.
Within a detached house or semi-detached house, each dwelling unit may have a maximum of one secondary suite.
In an R Zone, a dwelling unit in a townhouse may have a maximum of one secondary suite.
…other than an R zone with a numerical value of 2 following the letter ‘u’ in the zone label, a residential building originally constructed as a
detached house or a semi-detached house may be converted to contain more than one secondary suite.
A secondary suite is permitted within an existing legal non-conforming detached house or semi-detached house, if:
a) all applicable secondary suite regulations area met; and
b) there is no expansion or enlargement of the non-conforming use.
150.10.40 Building Regulations
1) The whole of a building containing a secondary suite must have been constructed more than 5 years prior to the introduction of the secondary
suite, excluding additions or alterations described in 184.108.40.206 (2).
2) a) An addition or alteration to a building to accommodate a secondary suite is permitted if it does not alter or add to a main wall or roof that
faces a street.
b) Despite a) above, the following additions or alterations may be on a main wall or roof the faces a street:
i) a porch or a basement extension beneath a porch;
ii) a balcony; and
iii) a dormer, if the interior floor area of the dormer is not more than 2.3 sq. m. and the total interior floor area of all dormers is not more than 9.3
3) If a building or a lot in a Residential Zone Category is not subject to a maximum gross floor area or floor space index, a secondary suite must
not be divided vertically from the principal dwelling unit, unless the secondary suite occupies part of one existing storey or part of the existing
220.127.116.11 Floor Area
The interior floor area of a secondary suite must be less than the interior floor area of the principal dwelling unity.
In a R zone, a residential building may only be converted to contain 2 or more secondary suites in accordance with 150.10.20 if:
a) the building has a minimum interior floor area of 460 sq m; and
b) the principal dwelling unit and each secondary suite must have an interior floor area no less than 55 sq. m., except in the case of an attic
converted to a secondary suite which must have an interior floor area no less than 42 sq. m.
City of Vaughan
Requirements to legalize a basement apartment are still under development
Town of Whitby
- Minimum Lot Frontage: 10.5 m (35 ft) for single detached homes 10 m (33 ft) for semi-detached homes
- Floor area of the basement apartment should not exceed 45% of the total area of the house.
- 40% of the front yard should be kept as landscaped open space
- Must be serviced by municipal water and sewer services.
- Minimum three parking spaces and two parking spaces should be accessed at all times.- 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 have
- direct access to the roadway.
- Home based occupations and business are prohibited in both dwelling unit as well as the basement apartment.
- In the case of the house and the basement apartment sharing a forced air heating system, the smoke alarms must be tied to a relay switch
which will turn off the furnace fan and the natural gas valve when the smoke alarms are activated.
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville
In 2010, the municipality of Whitchurch-Stouffville passed a bylaw allowing basement apartments in detached homes. The bylaw currently
prohibits basement apartments in semi-detached, town or row houses. However, that will change this year with an update to the Whitchurch-
Stouffville's zoning bylaw As of May 2015, there are only nine registered basement apartment within all of Whitchurch-Stouffville. In order to
register a basement apartment, the homeowner must complete an application form and pay a $118 fee to Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville's, which
is valid for 10 years.
When the New Whitchurch-Stouffville Comprehensive Zoning By-law is ratified, the Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville will permit the construction of
basement apartments through a registration process administered by the Clerk’s Department. For more information, please call the Licensing &
Public Services Coordinator of Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville at 905-640-1910 ext. 2225..
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville doesn't allow more than one dwelling entrance within any main wall facing a street. Also Town of Whitchurch-
Stouffville doesn't allow principal entrance to a basement apartment directly through a garage.
Minimum of 3 outside parking spots exterior to the garage (totally within the property) while still maintaining the minimum front and exterior side
yard requirements are required in Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville to have a legal basement apartment.
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville prohibits home occupations on any lot containing a basement apartment in either the dwelling or the basement
Town of Whitchurch-Stouffville requires that basement apartments shoud have at least 37 m² (400 ft²) floor area.
How can I get my basement apartment approved and make it
Interested in knowing if you can legalize a basement apartment? Contact the
bylaw department of your own municipality for more details.
Whether or not any construction takes place, the conversion of a home to a
two-unit residential occupancy will require a building permit.
Approval of Separate Basement Side Entrance
Basement Separate Side Entrance Plan and drawings typically includes existing and proposed construction with foundation & exterior wall
information, location and size of basement separate side entrance, stair and landing dimensions, drain location, showing locations of proposed
underpinning, locations of any support columns, and structural framing above, details of separate side entrance stair construction, separate side
entrance door location and size, size of lintel(s) required over the separate side entrance door, location of exterior side entrance light and light
switch, stages of proposed underpinning, numbered to show sequence of work and distance to foundations of adjacent buildings, including depth
of the basement footings of the adjacent building.
Where the depth of the basement separate side entrance causes the existing foundation to have less than typical 4 ft of frost coverage the
basement foundation must be extended to provide the required minimum 4 ft of frost protection. Where the proposed underpinned foundation is
to be constructed below the level of the basement footings of the adjacent building and within the angle of repose of the soil, the underpinning
and related construction must be designed by a Professional Engineer. The moisture in the soil freeze during the winter and cause frost
upheaval. The level of frost penetration and the amount of moisture in the soil (from poor grading and high groundwater table) determine the
amount of frost pressure. To avoid the 4 ft depth of excavation excavate to the bottom of the existing basement footing to provide frost
protection, required frost protection could be attained by excavating 1 ft below the walkout grade, installing vertical insulation against the
basement footing, extending insulation horizontally for a length equal to the frost depth (Typically 4 ft) away from the bottom of the footing,
overlapping the insulation at the horizontal and vertical transition and sloping the insulation away from the basement foundation for heat
retention under the footing and proper drainage away from the footings. Adequate insulation should be used to retain the heat immediately
adjacent to the footing, which comes from the heat flowing from inside of the house to the soil beneath and beside the footing; and geothermal
heat from the deep soil—heat stored in the earth below the frost level. Heat loss at corners is most pronounced because it occurs in two
directions. Horizontal insulation installed in “wings” sloping outward, around the perimeter of the slab, extends the heat flow path; controls heat
loss; and moves the line of frost penetration away from the footing. Adequate measures must also be taken to avoid damage to the insulation
during construction. While in warmer parts of Ontario, only a 4 ft (1.2 m) wing will be required; in more severe climates, the width of the wing
might need to extend out 6 ft (1.8 m) from the foundation perimeter. Use Expanded Polystyrene Type II or III, or Extruded Polystyrene Type IV
insulation. The perimeter drainage should be extended out around the walkout and reconnected at both ends.
Check with the municipal zoning plans examiner to determine whether the separate basement side entrance is permitted in the location proposed
on the property. To legalize a separate basement side entrance typically the following documents are required.
- Legal Survey and a Site Plan showing the location and actual dimensions of the proposed separate side entrance to the basement.
- Plan view showing the location and size of separate side entrance, stair and landing dimensions, drain location, hand rail and guard
- Section showing footing and foundation location, size and construction detail, details of stair construction, side entrance door location and
size, size of lintel(s) required over door, location of exterior light and light switch, guard height and construction detail. Where the depth of
the proposed separate basement separate side entrance causes the existing basement foundation to have less than 4ft frost coverage
the foundation must be extended on the section drawing and show by drawing or specification, how the underpinning of the foundation is
to be constructed.
- A floor plan of the basement and construction details are required if any alteration of the interior is proposed. Details of any drain
connection to storm sewer, or sump pit should be also provided.
- Basement foundation walls with new openings wider than 3'11" or walls having openings more than 25% of its length shall be considered
laterally unsupported and may require a Professional Engineer’s review.
Removal of Load Bearing Walls
Removal or opening up load bearing walls compromise the structural integrity of the walls and floors since uniform distributed loading is replaced
with two point loads due to the removal or opening up of load bearing wall. Also two new point loads on the floor caused by the removal or
opening up of load bearing wall require additional proper support underneath the floor.
If plumbing, electrical and HVAC duct located in the load bearing wall, the plumbing, electrical and HVAC duct located in the load bearing wall
should be modified and relocated. Relocation of plumbing, electrical and HVAC duct located in the load bearing wall may sometimes results in
alterations to the interior ceilings and walls including undesirable bulkheads. Drawing Requirements for a Building Permit Application to Remove
a Load Bearing Wall
- Structural Engineer stamped point load calculation including how the load will be transferred from the floor where the wall is being removed
to the floor below.
- Plan view (For the floor level where the wall is being removed)
- Direction of the existing floor joists span
- New beam sizes and supports
- Distance measured from the new beam to the next wall or beam that is supporting the floor joists (for each side of the beam)
- Plan view (For all floor levels above and below the floor where the wall is being removed)
- Direction of the existing floor joists span
- All existing beams below the new posts from above and their sizes and post locations
- Distance measured from the existing beam to the next wall or beam that is supporting the floor joists (for each side of the beam)
We will visit your home, measure and prepare proper drawings and submit to
the municipality to obtain the municipal building permit to construct or
legalize basement apartment. The required engineering drawings to obtain
building permit to construct or legalize a basement apartment are prepared by
licensed professional engineers (P.Eng) and will cost $1,295.
The required engineering drawings to obtain building permit to construct or
legalize a separate entrance to the basement apartment, will cost $1,295. $600
discount will apply if we prepare the drawings to legalize the basement
apartment at the same site.
The required engineering drawings to obtain building permit to remove a load
bearing wall, will cost $1,295. $600 discount will apply if we prepare the
drawings to legalize the basement apartment at the same site.
If required by the Municipal Authorities, HVAC Heat Loss/ Gain and Duct Sizing
Calculations by a Licensed Professional Mechanical Engineer will cost additional
$750. Our fee does NOT include the cost of ESA – Electrical Safety Authority
Inspection, Municipal Building Permit Fee etc No additional charges for any
municipal authorities initiated changes to the drawings. Any client initiated changes
will cost $295 per change
It is the owners and the contractor's responsibility to contact the Municipality to
conduct the required inspections once the construction project starts. Neglecting
these inspections may cause costly delays and time consuming work stoppages.
The name and telephone number of the Inspector or Inspections office will be
included with the permit documents. A municipal building Inspector can assist in
determining which inspections are required for the particular project. Depending on
the nature of the project, municipal building inspectors may have to visit the building
site several times to conduct the following inspections. Owners and contractors are
required to notify the municipal inspector once the project reaches a point where it is
ready for each required inspection. Inspections will take place within the next two
business days. The inspection will be conducted using the site copy of the stamped
permit plans. The inspector must be able to see the entire building element being
inspected. Any elements which are covered before they have passed an inspection
will have to be uncovered so they can pass inspection. For any questions about the
required inspections for the project, please contact your building inspector or local
Co-operation of the owner or contractor is required to ensure that mandatory.
Ontario Building Code inspections are conducted during the stages of construction.
Failure to notify may require that any or all of the items to be inspected are to be
exposed to the satisfaction of the municipal inspector at a later date, and
prosecution under the Ontario Building Code Act for failure to call for required
inspections. We also provide general reviews of the construction/renovation to
determine whether the construction is in general conformity with the plans and other
documents that form the basis for the issuance of a building permit. We charge $195
per site visit for general review and $275 per review report. All general review reports
will be forwarded promptly to the Chief Building Official.
If required by the Municipal Authorities, HVAC Heat Loss/ Gain Calculations,
Duct Sizing Calculations and Ventilation Design by our Licensed Professional
Mechanical Engineer will cost additional $795. Electrical Safety Authority fees,
Review Fee for Zoning Compliance, Building Permit Fees, Additional Municipal
Inspection Fees and Basement apartment Registration Fees are additional.
Call Us Anytime 416 332 1743
Text Message: 416 727 8336
BUILDING EXPERTS CANADA
5215 FINCH AVENUE EAST
TORONTO ON M1S0C2
Professional Engineers Ontario - Certificate of Authorization # 100205934