MISSISSAUGA – In a GTA market where sky-high detached home prices have become the norm, renting out “second units” — such as a basement apartments or in-law suites- – has become a popular way for first-time buyers to offset the cost of mortgage payments.
For Mississauga residents, the process of doing so is now easier than ever, thanks to a newly-approved bylaw that has done away with the existing licensing program, and allows homeowners to simply “register” their second units, free of charge.
“City staff are committed to helping improve access to affordable housing options such as second units,” said Commissioner of Planning and Building Ed Sajecki in a release issued June 8.
Homeowners who had previously licensed their second unit through the old system will be automatically registered, with no action required. Homeowners looking to register a second unit, however, will have to make sure that the proposed unit is compliant with:
- The Ontario Building Code
- The Ontario Fire Code
- The Ontario Electrical Safety Code
- City regulations as specified in Part 6 of the new bylaw.
After a second unit has been registered, it may be subject to inspections “at any reasonable time,” with the possibility of the registration being revoked if conditions have fallen short of the requirements.
“Staff from both the City’s building and fire teams are available to guide homeowners through the registration process,” Sajecki explains, “To ensure second units are safe and meet all regulatory requirements.”
Second Suite Regulations in Other GTA Municipalities
- In the City of Toronto, city-wide regulations allowing second suites went into effect in 2000 — but to create a new one, homeowners must meet a stringent set of conditions, as well as obtaining the proper permits. Full details can be found in the official guidebook, while the Toronto Real Estate Board offers its own helpful overview.
- Markham recommends that homeowners have their second suites voluntarily inspected and registered, and the city offers a guide for doing so here. The cost of the inspection is an affordable $300.
- In Richmond Hill, no registration is available for second suites, and any created after November 16, 1995 are actually considered illegal by the Town.