2 Requirements You Need to Make Sure Are Included in Your Basement Apartment

Before you can convert your home's basement into something like Wynn residential Toronto apartments and begin renting it out, you need to make sure you are following all the regulations for legal basement apartments in your municipality. It is important to make sure your apartment is constructed for safety and meets the regulations in size and ceiling height. Here are some rules you need to follow about fire protection and and the apartment's size when you complete the construction.

Fireproof Ceiling and Walls

When a tenant is living within the walls of your home's structure and a fire starts in their unit, you and your home will be at risk of damage from a fire that is outside your control. If a fire starts in your part of the home, your tenant is at risk of the fire that is outside their control. A proper fire wall can help protect you and your tenant to give you both time to escape the home in the event of a fire. 

You need to make sure the materials separating your home from the basement apartment follow the proper requirements. The type of wall and ceiling building materials you use to separate the apartment from your part of the home are important. According to the Ontario Fire Code, the drywall or lath and plaster you use to separate the units need to be at least a 30 minute fire resistance rating for walls and ceilings. Also, the penalty for violating the fire code is a fine of up to $25,000 or a prison term of up to one year, or both.

For walls in your basement apartment, it is recommended to install one layer of 1/2-inch regular drywall on each side of the wall. For the ceiling, you need at least one layer of 1/2-inch Type X drywall or two layers of 1/2-inch regular drywall installed or one layer of 5/8-inch regular drywall installed. The use of these fire protection materials will slow down the speed with which the fire spreads from one unit to the other, allowing you or your tenant time to escape. Doorways through any fire protection separation walls need to be protected with self closing fire rated doors installed in hollow metal or solid wood frames.

Always let your home owner's insurance know you are converting your basement into an apartment. If a fire occurs in your home and your home owner's insurance doesn't know about the apartment, they can deny your fire insurance claim. 

Apartment Size and Ceiling Height

When you are turning your basement into an apartment, you want to provide adequate space and area to increase the apartment's value to renters. Just be sure to keep the apartment's square footage less than the upstairs unit. Depending on the municipality you live in, there can be different requirements for the total size you can give your basement apartment. For example, North Vancouver requires you to make the apartment at least 400 square feet, but no more than 968 square feet. Then, the total size of the basement apartment cannot be more than 40 percent of the entire livable space in the dwelling. 

The ceiling height of your basement apartment also needs to meet certain requirements, depending upon which municipality you live in. According to The Ontario Building Code, a basement apartment's ceiling heights needs to be at least 6-feet 11-inches and can be lowered to 6-feet 5-inches under beams and ceiling ductwork. If your basement apartment does not have the right ceiling height, you can be in violation of having an illegal basement apartment. You will need to dig out the basement and lower the basement floor in the apartment to make the ceiling height legal.

Make sure the material is continuous over the surface of the ceiling. The basement apartment ceiling can't be finished with a suspended T-bar ceiling. You need to use a material, such as drywall, lath and plaster or gypsum board. 

These two rules need to be met for your basement apartment to be legal. Check with your municipality or a local contractor for the specifications of these requirements in your area.


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