Are you considering converting your basement into a legally permitted basement apartment?
Are you thinking about obtaining three quotes to determine the cost of renovating your basement? First, get the necessary permits approved, and then request quotes from three or more contractors.
We offer on-site support to help you navigate municipal regulations, Ontario Building Code requirements, and site-specific limitations.
Here is an overview of the permit process:
Permitting a secondary suite offers several benefits:
Do I Need a Permit?
To create a new second suite, you must apply for a building permit. All second suites must adhere to the Ontario Building Code, residential zoning by-laws, and property standards. Any construction work, as well as plumbing and electrical work, will require permits and inspections. The fees associated with permits vary based on the type and extent of the work. Building inspectors will review the project at key stages to ensure compliance with the Building Code and approved plans. Inspections require a minimum 48-hour notice, and it's recommended to be present during their visits.
Please note that existing second units that do not meet applicable laws are not "grandfathered" and must comply with current regulations.
Considering Renting to Family Only?
Municipalities are not concerned about the relationship between the tenant and landlord. Regardless of the occupants' relation, all building code and zoning by
ARE YOU CONSIDERING BUILDING YOUR BASEMENT APARTMENT WITHOUT A PERMIT?
If you're contemplating constructing a basement apartment without obtaining the necessary permit, we strongly advise you to reconsider. Operating an unpermitted or non-conforming basement apartment can have significant consequences both legally and in terms of insurance coverage.
Home Insurance: It is crucial to inform your insurance company about any alterations made to your home, including converting it into a two-unit suite. Failure to disclose these changes may result in your insurance policy being void or voidable. Additionally, any space that is not reported may not be covered under your policy. To maintain the validity of your insurance and ensure coverage, your property must comply with municipal building code standards.
Municipal Regulations: Proceeding with construction without the required permits can lead to serious consequences. You may be ordered to stop work, face legal prosecution, and potentially be required to remove any work already completed. If you're unsure whether your project requires a permit, it's essential to contact your local civic center for clarification.
Risks: Anyone, including tenants, neighbors, or concerned individuals, can report an illegal apartment to the city for inspection. Being caught with an unpermitted apartment could result in the requirement to convert the property back to a single-family dwelling, or it may involve significant time and expense to legalize the apartment. Furthermore, if an accident or death occurs in an illegal second suite due to a fire or flood, you could be held liable and face legal action. It is always recommended to meet electrical and fire safety standards for any secondary suite. It's important to be transparent with your insurance company about the true nature of the property, as providing false information can lead to further complications.
Legal Consequences: Violating the Ontario Building Code can result in both monetary fines and criminal charges. Section 36 of the Ontario Building Code Act outlines the nature of offenses and the associated penalties. Offenses include knowingly providing false information, failure to comply with orders or regulations, and contravening the Act or by-laws. Penalties for convictions can range up to $50,000 for a first offense and $100,000 for subsequent offenses for individuals, with higher fines for corporations.
Creating Safe and Legal Basement Apartments: It is important to prioritize the safety of occupants and protect your long-term investment. Building a legal basement apartment ensures compliance with building codes and regulations while providing affordable housing. By following the proper permitting process, you can create a safe living environment and avoid the legal and insurance risks associated with unpermitted constructions.
Learn more about our past basement renovation projects here
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