LEGALIZE BASEMENT APARTMENT IN MISSISSAUGA-

BASIC REQUIREMENTS TO LEGALIZE A BASEMENT APARTMENT IN MISSISSAUGA

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 Mississauga Fire Department receives the complaint. A City of Mississauga 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 Mississauga 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) The 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 with a 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 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 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 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 fire 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) 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 (9.5.7.1.), (9.5.7.2.)
• 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.
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.

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.

NATURAL VENTILATION : (OBC 9.32.2.1.)]
(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 9.9.5.9. 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 9.10.10.6. 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.

Furnace Room
Ontario Building Code 9.10.10.3. 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.

Laundry Room
REF: Ontario Building Code 9.31.4.2. 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.

Shared Exit
Ontario Building code 9.9.9.3. 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.

Basement Stairwell
Ontario Building Code 9.9.4.2. Fire Separation for Exits
(1) Except as provided in Sentence (5) and Article 9.9.8.5., 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
area.
(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 9.9.4.3.
(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 City of Mississauga zoning by-law to ensure that the basement
apartment is being used/occupied as permitted by the City of Mississauga zoning by-law. An individual who is found guilty of a violation of the
City of Mississauga'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.

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.
    O. 1997;
  • 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.

How can I get my basement apartment approved and make it
legal?

Whether or not any construction takes place, the conversion of a home to a
two-unit residential occupancy will require a building permit.

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 drawings are prepared by licensed
professional engineers (P.Eng) and it will cost  $1,295 which includes up to
two site visits. If required additional site visits after the 2nd site visit will cost
additional $195 per site visit.

If you need engineering drawings to construct or legalize a separate entrance
to the basement apartment, it will cost $1,295 which includes up to two site
visits. Additional visits cost $195 per visit.  $600 discount will apply if we
prepare the drawings to legalize the basement apartment at the same site.

If required by the City of Mississauga, HVAC Heat Loss/ Gain by a Licensed
Professional Mechanical Engineer will cost additional $750. Electrical Safety
Authority fees, Building Permit Fees and other City of Mississauga Fees are
additional.

Call Us Anytime  416 332 1743

Text message: 416 727 8336

Email: buildingexpertscanada@yahoo.com

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5215 FINCH AVENUE EAST
TORONTO ON M1S0C2
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