A second suite is a private unit within an existing home that is rented out to another person or family. Some are found in basements, while others are added onto the original structure. These spaces have their own bathroom, kitchen, and living areas, and may share certain amenities with the rest of the home (like a laundry area, yard, or storage).
Secondary suites, sometimes called in-law suites, second units, accessory or basement apartments, are generally created inside a single-family home by converting internal space into a self-contained, independently accessible unit.
Rental housing can be hard to come by in cities and even in rural areas, and second suites are starting to fill a demand for housing. In the Greater Toronto Area the rental vacancy rate for one-bedroom apartments is only 1.8%, which can make it a struggle for some families and individuals to find affordable properties in which to live. As second suites utilize existing infrastructure to create a rental unit, they usually cost less than traditional apartments and they fill a gap in the housing market for low- and medium-income households, students, or new city residents.
Over the past five years property values in the Greater Toronto Area have increased by 32.49%. Looking closer at specific areas, many of the more desirable, single-family homes have increased by 50% to 100% over the same period. While this is great news for people who bought early, it leaves new home buyers and investors looking for alternatives.
There are many reasons a homeowner may want to consider becoming a landlord. They may have an older family with children who have moved out, and want to make profitable use of the now-available space. Or, perhaps they want to increase the value of their home when it’s time to sell. To make renting a second suite even more attractive to homeowners, the Canadian Mortgage Housing Corporation provides 100% offset for rental income produced by legal second suites in an owner-occupied property.
Building a second suite in your home gives you the opportunity to create a safe and affordable rental unit for residents. It also allows you to maximize under-utilized space and transform it into a steady income.
Pay off your mortgage sooner, fund renovations to increase your property value, or consider other investments. Creating a legal second suite is one of the best upgrades you can make to increase the resale value of your property.
Extra income from the second suite rental can:
● Help homebuyers afford higher priced neighborhoods
● Reduce debt by helping to repay the mortgage faster
● Help first-time homeowners be able to afford property
● Fund property renovations to increase a home’s value
● Provide a source of back-up income if a household earner loses a job
● Provide more senior renters help with property tax or maintenance costs
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At Penguin Basements, we work with hundred of homeowners a year to create beautiful and functional basements and income properties.
Our trusted team starts by inspecting your property to ensure that adding a second suite is feasible. If we determine that it is, we then put together a proposal based on your design ideas and your budget. We also have skilled design consultants on hand to help you come up with ideas for how to best use the available space effectively.
The next step is making sure that all of the appropriate permits are obtained. It’s crucial to follow all local legislation when creating an income property.
We make sure that you new suite is compliant with ALL residential zoning requirements, property standard, occupancy standards, health and safety requirements and fire and electrical codes.
When you work with Penguin Basements to create your Second Suite, you’re working with an experienced team that knows what it takes to design and construct a beautiful, functional and legal secondary suite in your home.
We make it our priority to take the stress, guesswork and hassle out of the process, leaving you with peace of mind, beautiful renovations and an outstanding opportunity for profit!
Thousands of people across the province of Ontario are already taking advantage of second suites to generate monthly income and improve their properties. Shouldn’t you?
Generally, second suites can be created inside an existing home with only internal alterations. Suites vary in size depending on the design of the original house and the lot on which it sits. Many of these suites are located in basements because it gives both parties better separation and privacy — but suite options can be developed in almost any kind of home with the help of a solid design.
If you’re creating a secondary suite in your home, you must find the right help for your home’s unique layout. Working with a contractor experienced in creating these suites is essential to the success of the project. Penguin Basements will be able to guide you through what can be a complicated process of planning, getting permits, inspections and buildout.
We handle the entire permit process, including drawings, engineering and application. We take full responsibility for all revisions and approvals prior to building. We have qualified in-house architects who can coordinate the entire process on your behalf.
Our project managers will meet with the appropriate city officials to review the drawings and project milestones. We will continue to handle the entire process throughout the build. We follow a systematic process so that you, the homeowner can relax and enjoy the process, confident that the project will be complete on time and on budget.
At Penguin Basements, we have comprehensive knowledge of the Ontario Building Code and its application. Working in the municipalities of York Region, Peel, Halton, Durham and Toronto on a regular basis, we are familiar with each city’s or town’s interpretations, zoning and detail requirements.
Our experienced design consultants will happily show you some of our projects in your area and share some of our experience with your municipality.
Halton Region is currently testing a Second Unit Pilot Program that runs from August 1, 2016 to November 1, 2017. During this 16-month period, 20-25 Halton homeowners will be provided with financial assistance to support the creation of a second unit in their home. This Pilot Program was created to address population growth in Halton that is outstripping housing supply. Over the next 15 years, Halton’s population is expected to increase by almost 50 per cent to 780,000. More housing options will be needed to accommodate this growth, including affordable housing options. The Second Unit Pilot Program is a new Halton initiative that will help increase the supply of affordable rental housing; and provide financial assistance up to $50,000 to eligible Halton homeowners for the creation of a second unit in their home.
For more on this program, visit: http://www.halton.ca/living_in_halton/housing/halton_second_unit_pilot_program/
If you’re not building your basement apartment with a permit we strongly encourage you to speak to the municipality, your insurance agent and research the civil and criminal liability of operating an “illegal rooming house“. One of the fundamental reasons for permitting a basement apartment is to ensure that proper steps were taken to create a safe living environment for the occupants on the lower and upper levels of the home.
Whether you are building a finished basement for personal or rental use, we strongly recommend that you obtain a building permit. We can help by providing you with Permit Drawings.
Insurance policy statements instruct that a home owner must inform the insurer of any alterations made to the home. This maintains the validity of your home insurance. If converting a single-family home to a two-unit suite the homeowner must inform the insurance company of this change whether for personal use or rental purposes.
Any space that is not reported, would not be insured under the policy. The insurer can also render this a breach of condition, and the policy may be void or voidable. A property must also be completed to the standards of the municipal building code to maintain the status of the insurance.
"Penguin Basement worked with our ideas to create the basement of our dreams while remaining under budget, which was a huge plus."
- Jane F.5.0 5.0