A basement suite is a huge selling point when home shopping, as many home buyers are looking for a way to earn rental income or house older relatives. However, problems can arise if the basement apartment was not built properly in the first place, and the responsibility (and costs) can fall upon whoever owns the home even if they didn’t install the suite.
Five questions to ask when encountering a basement apartment are:
- Do the local bylaws permit basement apartments?
- Does the apartment comply with fire code?
- Does it comply with building code requirements?
- Does it comply with electrical safety requirements?
- Has the apartment been registered?
Unfortunately, home buyers who come to find their new home's basement apartment isn't quite legal have difficulty taking the steps to make it legal without getting into trouble themselves.