We often see on MLS listings "Seller or Agent do not warrant retrofit status of basement", and if there is no mention that the unit is legal, it's probably not . The legality of basement apartments or converted rental units (i.e. granny flats, in-law suites, accessory apartments, non-retrofit units) are often in question, considering there are tens of thousands of basement apartments currently in the City of Toronto.
Under certain zoning by-law, basement apartments are permitted in single family homes as long as it meets certain requirements. In order to assist home owners, the City have a kit which will explain "how to create a legal second suite" through Access Toronto at 416-338-0338 or can be obtained at the desk. There is also an alternative site which provide a more detailed explanation of the physical requirements to meet building codes at Carson Dunlop Home Inspection and Consulting Engineers.
For anyone thinking of buying, selling or retrofitting a home with a basement apartment, These are the typical 4 questions to ask:
1. Does the zoning by-law in your area permit a basement apartment unit?
2. Does the retrofit meet fire code and minimum building code requirements (i.e. minimum ceiling height, fire rated walls, entrance sizes, egress, provision of parking spot etc.) ?
3. Does it meet the basic electrical safety requirement?
4. Has the unit been registered with the City and has a certificate of compliance?
HomeLife/Realty One Ltd., Brokerage*
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Toronto, ON M4X 1P3
* Independently owned and operated.