Legal Basement Apartments

April 21, 2023

Are you considering renting a basement apartment in Ontario, Canada? It’s important to understand the legal requirements for these types of units in order to ensure your safety and avoid potential legal issues.
In Ontario, Canada, a legal basement apartment is commonly known as a “secondary unit” and is subject to specific regulations and requirements set by the province’s government. These regulations are designed to ensure that basement apartments meet certain safety and building standards, and are suitable for residential occupancy.

Some of the key requirements for a legal basement apartment in Ontario include:

Building code compliance: The apartment must comply with Ontario’s Building Code, including requirements for fire safety, electrical, plumbing, and ventilation systems.

Zoning compliance: The property must comply with municipal zoning regulations, which may include restrictions on the size and location of the secondary unit.

Separate entrance: The apartment must have a separate entrance from the main unit of the property, and the entrance must be located at ground level or below.

Ceiling height: The apartment must have a minimum ceiling height of 6 feet 5 inches in at least 50% of the living space.

Egress windows: The apartment must have at least one window that is large enough for a person to escape through in the event of an emergency.

Parking: The property must have sufficient parking spaces for both the main unit and the secondary unit.

Landlords who wish to rent out a legal basement apartment in Ontario must obtain a building permit and a separate registration with their local municipality. They may also be subject to inspections to ensure compliance with the regulations. Tenants should verify that the basement apartment they are renting is legal and registered with the municipality to avoid any legal issues down the line.
In conclusion, basement apartments in Ontario are subject to specific legal requirements that must be met in order to be considered legal. As a tenant, it’s important to ensure that the basement apartment you are considering renting meets these requirements to ensure your safety and avoid potential legal issues.