Basement apartments must comply with zoning, fire, building and electric codes

When real estate agents prepare offers for a house with a basement apartment, they typically insert a clause stating that “seller does not warrant retrofit status.”

This results in the purchaser taking the risk of getting caught by city inspectors and having to vacate the unit and forfeit rental income.

Agents and sellers seem to think they are sheltered from liability if they do not “warrant” the basement’s so-called retrofit status.

This practice could end in the light of a recent letter to local real estate agents by Toronto Real Estate Board president Richard Silver.

Silver’s letter attempts to end the confusion over what is and what is not a “legal” basement apartment, and what’s missing if there is only partial full compliance.

Silver quotes noted home inspector Carson Dunlop, who reports (at http://bit.ly/y06khg) that achieving a “legal” basement apartment involves five separate issues:

• Do the local bylaws permit basement apartments?

• Does the apartment comply with fire code?

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