The Ultimate Guide of Legal Basement in Mississauga, Ontario [2023]

Mississauga, Ontario, Canada is home to a wide range of legal basement developments. Legal basement dwellings are defined as secondary suites, or accessory apartments in the City of Mississauga’s Zoning By-law. Legal basements can provide more space for families and other individuals who may not be able to afford traditional housing costs.

With the real estate market cooling off, rental prices remain at a premium. With limited availability of affordable and suitable housing in Brampton, Toronto and Mississauga, as well as increasing mortgage rates making it difficult for homeowners to afford their mortgages on a single income, the need to create legal basement apartments has become increasingly prevalent. This is an ideal solution that can help supplement incomes while providing additional housing options within cities otherwise faced with shortages.

Mississauga City Center
Source: Mississauga City Center

Before we deep dive into the advantages and disadvantages of having a basement apartment, let’s first look at what makes one legal in Mississauga, Ontario, Canada.

If you are considering finishing your basement to create a second unit in Mississauga, it is important to ensure that you follow the legal guidelines and obtain the necessary permits. This guide will help you understand the requirements and steps you need to take to ensure your basement apartment is legal.

What is a Second Unit?

Are you living in Mississauga and considering adding a second unit to your property? Also known as a basement apartment or an in-law suite, this separate self-contained space with cooking, sleeping, and sanitary facilities can be added to detached houses, semi-detached homes, or townhouses. However before doing so please keep in mind that all second units must meet the Ontario Building Code’s requirements along with both the Fire Code regulations and Zoning By-laws of the city prior to being registered. Additionally it is essential that you apply for any required building permits beforehand too!

If you are planning to construct a new second unit or if your second unit was built after July 14, 1994, you will need to obtain a building permit. The building permit ensures that your project meets all applicable building codes, safety standards, and zoning regulations.

In order to create a legal basement dwelling in Mississauga, homeowners must obtain the necessary permits from the city and comply with all building codes and zoning regulations. This guide will provide information on legal basements in Mississauga, including the necessary permits required for construction and important considerations such as health and safety. Additionally, this guide will also outline resources available for those interested in developing a legal basement within the City of Mississauga.

To begin, homeowners should be aware that all basement dwellings must meet the requirements outlined in the Zoning By-law and Building Code for Legal Basement Dwellings. Additionally, it is important to ensure that any construction or renovation adheres to both fire safety and health standards set by local authorities. To obtain a permit to develop a legal basement in Mississauga, homeowners must submit an application with their drawings and plans to the city.

Zoning By-law Requirements

Zoning regulations determine what types of structures are allowed in each area of the city. Check with the City of Mississauga to see if your property is zoned for a second unit. If your property is not zoned for a second unit, you may need to apply for a zoning bylaw amendment.

Ceiling Height Requirements

The minimum ceiling height for a habitable space in a basement is 6 feet 5 inches. If your ceiling height is lower than this, you will need to obtain a variance from the City of Mississauga.

Egress Window Requirements

Every habitable room in a basement must have at least one egress window that meets specific size requirements. These windows provide a safe exit in case of fire or other emergencies.

Separate Entrance Requirements

A legal second unit in Mississauga must have a separate entrance that does not go through the main living space of the house.

Proper Ventilation Requirements

A legal second unit in Mississauga must have proper ventilation to ensure the safety and health of the occupants.

Second Unit Registration Process

To register a second unit in Mississauga, you will need to follow the process outlined by the City. The registration process depends on when your second unit was built.

For second units built on or before July 14, 1994, you will need to email the following documents to

  • Completed Second Unit Registration Form
  • Second unit affidavit signed and sealed by a lawyer
  • Current Electrical Safety Certificate

Once the City has checked everything and no other approvals are required, Fire Prevention and Life Safety Staff will contact you to arrange an inspection. If additional work is needed, you will be issued a ‘Fire Inspection Order’ outlining the work you need to do to make the second unit safe. Once you have addressed all of the outstanding issues identified by the Fire Inspector, they will provide you and the City’s Building Division with a ‘clearance letter’. When Building Division receives your clearance letter, your second unit will be registered, and a copy of the registration certificate will be emailed to you.

For second units built after July 14, 1994, you will need to email the following documents to

  • Proof of ownership such as a tax bill, title of property, or tax assessment notice
  • A copy of the second unit building permit with sign off by all concerned City inspectors
  • Completed Second Unit Registration Form

Once these documents have been reviewed by staff, the second unit will be registered, and a copy of the registration certificate will be emailed to you.

For new second units, you will need to apply for a building permit. Once a building permit has been issued, and all necessary inspections

Once an application has been approved, homeowners can then begin building or renovating their legal basement dwelling. During construction, it is important to pay close attention to details such as plumbing and ventilation systems in order to ensure compliance with local codes and regulations. It is also necessary to install smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, fire escape routes, and proper insulation for safety reasons.

Once construction or renovation is finished, homeowners should also be aware of the other important steps that must be taken in order to make their legal basement habitable. This includes obtaining a Certificate of Occupancy from the city, as well as any other documentation required by local authorities. Additionally, homeowners should review their insurance policy to ensure adequate coverage for any potential damages caused by a tenant.

Finally, this guide provides information on various resources available to assist with the development of a legal basement in Mississauga. These include government programs and services offered through the City of Mississauga’s Planning & Building departments, as well as financial assistance provided by the Ontario government.

We hope this guide helps to provide you with a better understanding of Legal Basements in Mississauga and all that is involved in creating one. With the right guidance and resources, homeowners can create safe and legal basement dwellings which will ultimately help them to achieve their housing goals.

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Mississauga Location

268 Derry Rd W Unit 101, Mississauga, ON L5W 0H6