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Secondary Suites In the City of Toronto

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Though the concept of Secondary Suite has been in existence for more than two decades. What has made it the ‘talk of the town’, in recent times? Got you wondering? This concept may not be new, but the provisions are.

Yes, the Province of Ontario has introduced new legislative amendments, policies, and rules that have provided a significant boost to second dwelling units, across the Province, with its simplified approach.

As a result, Toronto, Ontario’s capital city, has emerged as an essential landscape, which offers affordable and legal housing solutions, within its ancillary structure. Furthermore, Rent Basements, a renowned name in the industry, serves as a prominent example of second dwelling units, being offered for rent. 

What Is A Secondary Suite?

A Secondary Suite refers to the separate living space, which is created within a property. These are the type of rental housing units that generally accommodate a single family. The name second suite only stands secondary, in its name. But the living experience is prominent; especially within the  Rent Basements platform.

One can feel completely comfy and at a home, with features of a; separate entrance, private or shared kitchen, private or shared living room, private or communal bathroom, and other such amenities. In general, there exist four, most common kinds of secondary suites or secondary dwellings: 

  • Basement Suite: These are the suites, which are situated below the main floor meant, which is usually designated for the use of a single family, with complete basic dwelling options.
  • Garden Suite: The garden suite, also known as the granny suite, is a ground-level suite, which is separate from the more significant portion of the property.
  • Cottages: These are the separate houses, usually situated nearby a lake or other body of water and usually located in a rural area.
  • Duplex: A duplex is a multi-family home that has two units in one building — regardless of how those homes are arranged. Units can be side-by-side or stacked on top of each other. Duplex buildings also have two separate entrances for each unit. This means each tenant has their own entrance. An example of a duplex is a house with two doors side-by-side that enter into different living spaces in one home, one upstairs and one downstairs. These two separate units are typically similar in size. (


What Are Some Of The Conditions That Apply To Secondary Suites?

According to the latest amendment, in consideration to the legality of a Secondary Suite; the property has to adhere to essential requisites. These requirements vary for each municipality. Therefore,  the first and foremost condition for a secondary suite, is to be in compliance with the rules and bylaws of a respective municipality.

Properties that are  aiming to gain legal status as a Secondary Suite, in Toronto, Canada are liable, to comply with the Ontario Building Code, Toronto Fire Code, Zoning requirements, and property standard; as set out by the municipality or city.  

The following conditions need to be strictly considered in the City of Toronto, to ensure approval for a Secondary Suite. 

  • Façade: It is mandatory to have a floor area that is smaller than the owner’s main unit for a unit, or space, to be termed as a Secondary Suite. This legal Secondary Suite must be completely self-contained, with a separate entrance, proper kitchen area, working bathrooms, and other such basic and standard amenities. The exterior façade shall not openly demonstrate any significant alteration, which may impact tenants, unless otherwise approved.
  • Zoning:  Secondary Suites can be detached or semi-detached dwellings, such as; cottages, townhouses, garden suites, or any laneway house.
    Ideally, only a maximum of one secondary suite, per dwelling, is permitted.
    There may be more than one suite, in the case of detached or semi-detached house.
  • Parking: Though the parking requirements are minimal and flexible, depending on local authorities. It is a must to have a minimum rate of one designated parking spot for each legal Secondary Suite, in Toronto.
  • Fire Code: Safe wiring is a key component to ensure fire prevention. Thus, the  owner of a Secondary Suite must conscript the conduction of a timely inspection of Secondary Suite units, by the Electricity Safety Authority. In the case of any deficiencies or defects being discovered, the landlord shall get wiring fixed, immediately and obtain an Electricity Safety Certificate.
  • Minor Variance: To initiate any property alteration, the homeowner must first apply for a Certificate of Permission from the Committee of Adjustment for a Minor Variance; irrespective of its compliance with the zoning by-law. Additionally, before planning any alteration for the exterior appearance of the dwelling unit, it is mandatory to inform Toronto’s Urban Planning and Development Services department.

Why Should You Build a Secondary Suite?

There are several worthy reasons to support the creation of a legal secondary suite.  But let us focus on a few major aspects of a legitimate Secondary Suite. 

  • The legal Secondary Suite in Toronto, is certainly emerging as the source of a decent supplementary income. The concept of a Secondary Suite serves as a ‘mortgage payment helper‘, which ultimately makes homeownership more affordable.
  • Also, the least used portion of the house gains through an increase in monetary value, through an enriched option of an expanded state of suitable occupancy. The legal Secondary Suite attracts a higher caliber of tenants. As a result of a better grade of tenants and a legally compliant Secondary Suite, the rental value of a Secondary Suite increases over time.
  • There is no doubt that these ‘second dwelling units’, known as Secondary Suites are more secure, safe, and comfortable, than other common dwelling units that are offered for rent, by landlords. Another benefit of a legal Secondary Suite, is that the Secondary Suite qualifies for insurance coverage for the unit and its contents.
  • Secondary suites are the best dwelling units for senior citizens that want to remain independent in their home environment. Secondary Suites are a great option for adults who have to live and stay separately from their family for reasons related to education enrichment, employment advancement or for leisure. The secondary suite can purposely become a new home to a person seeking a higher standard in a basement rental unit.

Any person that is striving to act in compliance with the unique and specific laws that relate to  Secondary Suites needs to fully understand and adhere to applicable bylaws of a municipality and follow the practice directions and policies and procedures as set out by the Region where the Secondary Suite is or will be located. Additionally, homeowner need to be cognizant of and fully aware of their rights and obligations. The homeowner and / or property owner shall fully comply with the following acts and provisions to be eligible to rent a Secondary Suite in Ontario and to remain a permitted property owner that can have a Secondary Suite in Toronto.

  • Residential Tenancies Act, Ontario
  • Ontario Human Rights Code 
  • Fire Code, Ontario
  • Building Code Act, Ontario
  • Zoning Laws, by Region within Ontario
  • Planning Act, Ontario

Benefits of a Secondary Suites

Inarguably, a legal Secondary Suite holds immense healthy benefits for all related parties that will live or reside in the rental unit. Such dwelling units are legally structured, to serve the needs of one and all. But only if all of the proscribed criteria are met. Adequate number of exits, entrances must be in place without any obstructions. Required fire safety protocols must be followed. A fire extinguisher that has been recently tested and passed a certification inspection by the fire inspector, is a must. Required number of smoke alarms and carbon dioxide detectors, based on square footage of the rental unit, must be in compliance with the requirements of the municipality.

Benefits of a Secondary Suite to Property Owners 

Secondary Suites facilitate homeowners, to be able earn additional income for their livelihood, which enables them to be more capable to cover mortgage payments and other expenses related to owning a property. Additionally, property owners get the privilege of being able to properly accommodate members of their extended family; in the form of elderly parents, adult children, companions and siblings, all the while ensuring respectful privacy to the occupants of the Secondary Suite.

We cannot forget that properties that have been modified to offer and host a legal Secondary Suite, will have increased its current monetary and future resale value. Property owners of homes with a Secondary Suite can also enjoy the benefit of additional insurance coverage, which can help them to avoid related liability issues. Thereby lessen the potential for vulnerable housing conditions.

Benefits of Secondary Suites to Tenants

The Secondary Suite is an affordable housing solution for many property renters that are seeking shelter throughout the City of Toronto. These improved housing choices are: safer, more secure, and very comfortable. Secondary Suites offer many amenities in one location. Some of the current ‘initially improvised laws’ for  Secondary Suites are a prominent step towards creating better dwelling places for tenants and renters of basement apartments. 

Benefits to Community 

The concept of a Secondary Suite ensures the most efficient use of municipal infrastructure, such as; transit, roads, recreation centers and parks. Surprisingly, Secondary Suites also enriches and supports the well-being of the local environment.

Secondary Suites offer clean and safe accommodation to people that rent basement apartments. With more people sharing a space in a house, the pressure on the Greenbelt is significantly reduced. As a result, valuable farms and wildlife are preserved. Otherwise, without the existing Secondary Suites and new and potential Secondary Suites functioning as basement rental units, more government housing developments, such as a housing co-operatives and similar housing projects would need to be built to house people that would be just as happy and safe, by living in a Secondary Suite, like a basement apartment.  

Secondary Suites greatly contribute to creating socially and ethnically diverse communities. As a result of legal Secondary Suites, the ‘societal culture witnesses a healthy growth’. 

Things to Consider Before Choosing Secondary Suites

The choice of a secondary suite depends on certain societal, legal, and monetary factors. 

  • One must pay sincere attention to the neighborhood where the accommodation is based. The locality should have quick access to basic community centers, parks, transit, shopping malls, workplace, etc.
  • The tenants must ensure that the accommodation contains basic facilities which are legally required to form an essential part of the secondary suite.
  • To check the agreement and documentation backed by timely insurance and inspection proofs. 
  • It is a must to consider that the safety norms are strictly met before getting into any agreement. 

Why Do You Need To Choose To List or Search for A Secondary Suite With Us?, being the best online platform for all secondary housing needs; leaves no place unexplored. Yes, we at firmly believe in delivering service quality excellence; by adhering to and showcasing current and up to date laws, bylaws and housing compliance requirements that are relevant to Secondary Suites.

We list and widely and proudly showcase healthy Secondary Suites, as basement apartment units on behalf of landlords.

Likewise, we are also here to benefit renters that want to rent a basement apartment unit. We want to ensure a safe, healthy and clean living space for you and your loved ones. We have designed a sleek and stunning basement rental portal for renters to find a luxurious and suitable living place. Our prominent listing of Secondary Suites is among rental portals on the Internet.

We suggest that prior to signing any rental agreement for a Secondary Suite or basement rental apartment unit that you should thoroughly review the rental agreement and any related documentation about the compliance of the Secondary Suite to applicable local bylaws, municipal policies, and physical structure requirements, as set out by the Zoning department of the City of Toronto.

Furthermore,  at, you get the best of living at a higher level in a basement rental apartment unit, within the City of Toronto, at the best price. 


The Secondary Suite, additional housing option, in Toronto is emerging as the most lucrative legal source of ‘easy money’ supplementary income. As a result, many homeowners are striving to become landlords that rent out a Secondary Suite as a basement apartment., in partnership with landlords, aims to promote better dwelling units. We believe that it is an obligation to resolve the difficult decision of how to  live, coupled with where to live.  Therefore, we empower both landlords and renters will current state of the art information and resources for renting basement apartments and Secondary Suites.

Rent Basement is leading the list of rental portals, by adhering to minor details, as well. Be confident that you are in the right place to find a affordable living space.   


1. Are Secondary Suites New?

No, the concept of a Secondary Suite is not a new one. It has been in existence for the last few decades, but has received legal status, only in recent times. Ideally, the Provincial legislation, in Ontario, Canada was enforced somewhere between the time period of July 1994 and November 1995. But was enforcement was not implemented strictly in all Provinces of Canada. 

2. Where Are Secondary Suites Permitted In The City of Toronto?

The recently amended bylaw for Secondary Suites, Toronto, Canada, permits the existence of any form of legal Secondary Suite anywhere in the City of Toronto. 

3. How Can I Find Out If An Existing Secondary Suite Complies With The Regulations of the City of Toronto?

The legal compliance regulations of a Secondary Suite can easily and expediently be confirmed with a duly permitted inspection. The City of Toronto Fire Inspector for compliance can conduct such an inspections for a minimal fee. Also, both renters and landlords of Secondary Suites can contact the City of Toronto’s Urban Planning and Development Department for additional information about compliance and inspection requests for Secondary Suites in Toronto.

4. Will Having a Secondary Suite Impact Property Taxes?

Unfortunately, yes. In many cases, the impact of a Secondary Suite on property taxes can be readily seen.  Property taxes may be affected according to the size of the rental of a Secondary Suite.  But there may not necessarily be an increase in property taxes, in the case of the mere construction of the Secondary Suite, as addition  to existing property. 

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