Do you have a home for sale that has a Basement Apartment?
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Real Estate is local. This is not legal advice. Seek an opinion from your own legal counsel before buying or selling a home in Brampton that has a basement apartment. Protect your rights.
Real estate agents, who sell homes in Brampton, have been advised by the Brampton Real Estate Board that they are not to talk about basement apartments in their listings for Brampton homes. Apparently it has been passed in Council that as at January 31, 2006 no more basement apartments will be "registered." If an apartment is not "registered," it is an "illegal" basement apartment. There is no other definition that is acceptable. It is either a legal apartment or a non-legal apartment. A Buyer must be made aware of that, otherwise it is false advertising, and the listing agent and or the selling agent will be held to task. Ideally, the agent should not mention the apartment in the listing at all.
This does not mean that you cannot sell your property if it has a basement apartment. What it does mean that as REALTORS® we are cautioned that we must not “talk about it,” in particular as to whether or not it is an income producing enhancement, and we must operate under full disclosure. This means we cannot advertise your home (an MLS listing is a form of advertising) saying that it has an apartment, one bedroom, two bedrooms, a bachelor apartment or any kind of apartment, if the apartment is not “registered,” as a legal apartment entity. If there is a bedroom and or a bathroom in the basement (below grade) the property will automatically be suspect, according to information provided to REALTORS® by the City of Brampton. We have been told we must ask if a building permit was sought for that construction, in order to make it legally in compliance with City bylaws, even if there is no tenant living at the property.
Several weeks ago, all Brampton real estate brokerage offices received registered mail threatening that the Real Estate Council of Ontario (RECO) would be contacted by the City’s legal department, and agents not complying with the instruction of the legal department at the City of Brampton, would have action taken against them, singularly and severally. Ask your agent what his license is worth to him.
It would appear that many apartments, turning single family homes into multiple family dwellings when they are in fact zoned single family dwellings, even when there is a separate entrance, are being touted and sold as income-producing properties, and that in many cases the apartments were built without building permits, and in some cases jeopardize the lives of the occupants. It is only natural and sensible that agents would be expected to relay this information to a Buyer. Nobody wants to put a life in danger, financially or otherwise. An agent cannot sell a home to a Buyer, telling the Buyer that the money acquired from the rental unit will help the Buyer carry the financing on that home if they buy it. Maybe it will, but often it won’t be allowed as part of the qualifying process, particularly so, if the apartment is not registered, prior to January 2006.
If you find yourself, as a homeowner, in this position and you wish to sell your home, perhaps you would be well-advised to contact the City of Brampton prior to putting your home on the market, so that you can instruct your REALTOR® as to the proper designation. If you are a Buyer, entertaining the idea of buying a particular property that has a basement apartment, contact the City yourself, to determine if the advertising is correct. They will tell you if the apartment is a legal registered one. This information is just meant as a heads' up, so homeowners, buyers, and agents can all work together and do the right thing.
We would like for members of the public to not blame the real estate agent community for the decision made by the City. We are not saying the decision is right or wrong, but the law is the law. We were not consulted regarding this issue and we “must” play by the rules; we don’t make the rules, but we certainly must follow the rules. If you have any questions whatsoever, the place to start is by visiting the City of Brampton offices - and get the name of the person you speak to. Forewarned is forearmed. So you, as a Buyer or you as a Seller, can get the best deal in real estate, you must know your rights and you must “have the definition that is property-specific, in writing.”
Remember: that apartment is either legal or it is not. Just because the builder originally built the house complete with a separate entrance, more than likely to accommodate making the house into a multiple family dwelling at some future time, perhaps with a view to providing an additional income stream, and the owner then turns his basement or upstairs into a separate dwelling area – this does NOT make the apartment legal. Do you have an apartment in your home? Is it legal? Contact the City to find out - BEFORE you list your Brampton home for sale.
Even agents are being charged, and fined huge amounts of money, by the City of Brampton for operating illegal basement apartments. Perhaps stories like the one at this link are meant to threaten other homeowners who are installing or have installed illegal basement apartments.
Obviously the City of Brampton is taking this issue very seriously. If you have a basement apartment you might be well-advised to have the fire department check it out, in order to protect your tenants and your ownership of the property. This is not legal advice. If you have any legal questions about basement apartments in Brampton, contact your attorney directly. What applies in Brampton may not apply in other cities. Real estate is local.
BREB and City of Brampton launch "Safe City" website re: basement apartments
a.. History on basement apartments in Brampton
b.. What is a basement apartment / Secondary Suite?
c.. Are basement apartments legal in Brampton?
d.. How safe are legally registered basement apartments in Brampton?
For answers to these questions and for more information, Click here.
By-Law 109-2011Fact Sheet
*Copyright Carolyne Realty Corp. May not be reproduced by any means without written permission. Protected by International Copyright Law. All rights reserved.
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