Level Up Group

Basement Apartment


You may plan to transform your basement into a basement apartment for a few reasons – generate extra income, give more independence to your teens, have your relatives live with you, or add living quarters for kids’ nanny. No matter what the reason is, it has to be planned according to the regulations and provide safety and comfort.

As mortgages costs go steadily up, more and more homeowners rely on income from renting out a basement apartment, especially in metropolitans like Toronto and Calgary were we serve. An average size basement can bring you anywhere from 1500 to 2000 a month.

In many cases it can easily take care of a big part of the mortgage, or cover your utility bills and taxes. It simply makes living in your home affordable. Adding a basement apartment to your home will increase your house resale value. Out of all renovation projects basement apartment renovation has a very high return on Investment value – up to 70%.

Getting permit & approvals for legal basement apartment

If you plan to renovate your basement to be used as an apartment, it is best if the plans and drawings for approval are drafted by an experienced architect. The process will entail approval at the paperwork stage, as well as physical inspection by municipal representatives at specific stages of construction.

Our team at Level Up will take care of the entire process – from basement plans, submitting fees for permits to final permits and approval.

Although the approval adds extra time to the process – in the long run, it is in your interest. You will have the formal conclusion that the space is fit for living, which will positively affect your house resale value.

Basement Apartment Entrance

Independent basement entrance is one of the challenges, as some of the house layouts can be limiting.

Basement entrance can be added from the side of the house (provided there is enough clearance between your and neighbor’s house), from the backyard, garage, and from the house facade. Only experienced builders can determine whether it can be done.

Basement Apartment Ontario Health and Safety Standards

Although your layout plans will be done by an experienced architect, there some general information that you need to know.

  • the apartment floor plan has to allow for 2 exits.(even if one of them is an egress window)
  • Bedrooms should have windows for light and ventilation purposes

These standards are easier to meet in the newer built houses, while in the older houses you might even need to consider basement benching or underpinning to add required height.

Planning basement Apartment layout

A basement apartment unit should be fully self-contained, especially if you are planning to rent it out. When planning the layout you should consider:

  • Kitchen
  • Bathroom
  • Living space
  • Common space (common room, corridor, entrance)
  • Bedroom(s)

If the floor is spacious enough you can still plan additional useful space for your own use: storage, laundry on the same level.

If you are planning to rent out the unit – you will have to research the rental market in your area to see if you want to rent it as independent rooms or a complete apartment. This way you can adapt the space for your needs much better at the planning stage.

If you are adding an apartment just for your family members – you have much more flexibility – you do not necessarily need a separate entrance, you can share laundry. Moreover, you can create a more flexible floor plan – with larger common space, open concept kitchen or bar, and one bedroom.

A space like this will definitely add value to your house, as it can be used as a family room with a guest bedroom, or easily convert back as a one-bedroom apartment.

Feel free to request an estimate or just to consult on basement apartment design process, we are here for you. Level services both the Greater Toronto Area and Calgary Metropolitan Region.

Basement Apartment FAQs

Basement apartment code requirements

First, your property needs to be more than five years old and meet the zoning codes specific to your area. Basement apartments must complete the Ontario Building Code requirements to be legal. The basement apartment needs to have a minimum of 145 square feet, with 1,95 meters as a minimum for ceiling height. While these are the basic requirements, check with your local authority to know the requirements specific to your area.

Average basement apartment rent
  • Toronto $1,200-$1,900
  • North York Area $1,200-$2,000
  • Barrie $1,000-$1,800
  • Ontario $1,500-$2,000
Common basement apartment upgrades
  • Larger windows will allow natural sunlight and make the basement feel like a ground-level space. In addition, the egress windows need to comply with the building code requirements.
  • Soundproofing a basement will create a noise barrier so your tenants won’t hear anything.
  • Floor heating is an energy-efficient heating solution for basements. This feature will provide the utmost comfort while reducing costs.
  • A washer and dryer will make your apartment more desirable in the eyes of potential tenants.
Can I use my basement for Airbnb?

You can have short-term rentals if you live in residence. A host isn’t permitted to rent a basement apartment for a short-term stay. However, a full-time resident can use the apartment for a short-term stay. A short-term stay is defined as a stay with a duration of a maximum of 28 days and is allowed only for 180 nights per year.

Basement apartment definition

A basement apartment is located below ground level and usually has a private entrance. Homeowners should consider the enormous potential of this space in terms of separate living spaces for in-laws or rental units. The basement apartment needs to meet the building code requirements to be legal.

Common basement apartment layout

A basement apartment should come with a walkout door for convenience. The space can be divided into one or more bedrooms, and each one needs to have egress windows that meet the building code criteria. If you want the basement apartment to be an independent unit, you need to add a bathroom and a kitchen.

Basement apartment usages

A basement apartment provides many options for homeowners. You can turn the space into an in-law suite or a guest bedroom. Families with young adults can accommodate their children and allow them to have an independent life. The private entrance is ideal for setting up your business and having clients over while setting a clear line between your personal and professional life. On the other hand, renting your basement apartment will bring you a steady income.

Basement apartment resale value

A basement apartment will add value to your property. The appraised value for a basement apartment is 50% to 70% of the value of the ground-level square footage. Upon selling, expect to recoup around 70% of the renovation costs in the form of added value.


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