Buying Legal Non Conforming What Does That Mean for You?

Dated: April 30 2021

Views: 941

Apartment Hunting

Searching For that Perfect Home with A Second Income?

Entering the real estate market can bring up a lot of terms that can be confusing.

One of which is buying a home with a Legal Non-Conforming second unit. (I'm referring to a house with basement apartment.) When hearing the term 'Legal' you may think that this means you can simply rent out this 2nd unit for extra income. This is a great idea in theory, however not correct.

The term legal non-conforming referrs to the zoning of the property. When the unit was originally established it would have been in compliance with zoning restrictions at that time.  Zoning restrictions change from time to time. Legal Non-Conforming means that this 2nd unit has been 'grandfathered' into the new zoning restrictions, to allow for the same use prior to the zoning changes.

Once established as legal non-conforming, this zoning exemption only applies as long as the property is in continuous use. For example, if you are looking at purchasing property that currently has a legal non-conforming 2nd unit within the property but then remodel the property into a single family dwelling, you cannot turn it back into a two unit dwelling ten years down the road and assume it's ok becuase that what it was zoned when you purcahsed it. 

When purchasing a home with a 2nd unit, or building one in your current home,  there are more than just zoning restrictions to consider. 

Secondary units must conform with:
1) Retrofit Fire Code
2) Electrical Safety Authority
3) Ontario Building Code
4) Municipal By-Laws

Stay tuned for more on Secondary units in further posts.

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Kathy Ulakovic

Kathy has a passion for real estate that has not been extinguished in a decade; and helping clients achieve their real estate goals is her main goal. She has been a top-performing licensed agent at R....

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