How Adding A Legal Basement Suite To Your Home Can Help With The Mortgage
May 4, 2022
With the price of real estate becoming harder and harder for Canadians to afford many are turning to alternative strategies to help with the ever increasing costs associated with home ownership. Real estate has become one of the most profitable ways to increase your net worth and provide for an alternative income stream but the cost to acquire additional properties can be prohibitive. Instead of investing in a second property many are looking to the potential income and equity that may be right under their feet. Single-family homes with a basement suite may be the solution for the first time buyer who would like to use the additional income to qualify for their first home or the individual who might use the income towards the purchase of additional properties. The key to accessing revenue from single-Family homes with a legal basement suite and using it towards the financing of your home is to ensure it meets all the requirements for a legal basement suite.
Requirements for a legal basement suite
A legal basement suite is a completely self contained living space that has its own kitchen, bathroom, bedroom/s, and separate entrance. This is the most basic of descriptions because every jurisdiction has its own minimum requirements for legal basement units to be considered legal separate units so getting the most up to date information from your local planning and building departments is crucial. Here are some common requirements that most cities will enforce.
Does your area of the city allow for secondary residences or is it strictly a single family zone? City’s have planning departments that determine where the stores go and where the industrial plaza should be built, they also determine the density of residential housing so your zoning may preclude the very existence of a basement suite in your home. Best to make a quick call to the planning department before you get quotes from the contractors.
Building codes apply to any and all renovations and, for your suite to be considered legal, a proper building permit would have been applied for and should be on file at the local building department. If you’re starting from scratch, a building permit is a must and the only route to a safe and legal suite. Building codes ensure that each bedroom has an operating window that allows an adult to climb out, each unit must have a fire rated door that leads to the outside, and interconnected smoke alarms are some requirements that you will find quite common.
What is a legal basement suite in Alberta?
There are individual jurisdictions that have additional requirements. Single-family homes with a legal basement suite in Alberta require both units to have their own furnace. Your local building department can answer any questions you have related to meeting the requirements for a legal basement suite.
Whatever reason you may have for adding a basement suite, the only way to legitimately use the additional income to qualify for a mortgage, the unit must be a legal unit and your finance guy at the bank is going to check. If you have an existing illegal basement rental and would like to know how to legalize your basement suite, you’re in the same boat as those starting from the beginning. A call to your planning and building department will get the process started and soon you may be realizing that adding a legal basement suite really helps with the mortgage.