Living Room with kitchen

Brampton Basement Apartments – First things first

08.18.2020 | Articles For Homebuyers

Brampton Basement Apartments

For many people, the financial barriers to buying their first house (or a larger house that’s more aligned with their needs) can mean thinking creatively about the long-term plan. A common solution is to look for income opportunities within the homes you consider. We’re talking basement apartments.

What is a Basement Apartment?

By definition, a basement apartment is a self-contained apartment consisting of a room or rooms in a single or semidetached house. It can actually be in any part of the house, not necessarily in the basement. Some people call these apartments granny flats, nanny suites, accessory apartments and second suites. Brampton’s bylaws refer to them as “Residential Units.”


While a rental unit in your home can generate income, it also comes with some responsibilities. There’s more to it than putting a hotplate and a bed in your basement and posting a rental ad in Kijiji. You have to make sure your place meets local regulatory standards. In Brampton, basement apartments and other forms of second units are subject to zoning requirements.

In the first of a few posts on the subject, I thought I’d list some of rules to keep in mind.

    1. However you may be able to imagine you house divided, the City of Brampton permits only one rental unit per house in detached, semi-detached and townhouse dwellings.
    2. The amount of rental space per home is also regulated. In a bungalow, the second unit can be up to 75 per cent of the primary unit’s gross floor area (GFA). For all other houses, the second unit can be up to 45 per cent of the primary unit’s GFA.
    3. A self-contained apartment must have a separate means of entry (which may be through another unit), a kitchen or cooking area and bathroom facilities.
    4. A self-contained apartment may be as small as a single room that contains all of these features.
    5. Brampton also regulates parking for residential units. There must be at least one parking space for the rental unit, in addition to the required parking for the primary living space.
    6. Creating a rental space also requires access considerations. There must be a 1.2 meter clear path of travel to a door in the side or rear yard that provides access to a second unit.

I’ve always believed that you’re most likely to achieve the best results when you set out to do things right. There are a lot of illegal basement apartments in Brampton, but for anyone who thinks they’re getting around the rules it only takes one problem to realize how high the stakes are. I’ll get into that in my next post, but for now I’ll end by stressing the importance of knowing the rules.

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