GJ MacRae Foundation Repair

The Original Wetbasements Experts – Since 1975

Converting Your Basement into a Rental Suite

Author picture

Written and Edited By Gavin MacRae

converting basement into a rental suit

Table of Contents

Are you looking to make some extra money by converting your basement into a rental apartment? Then you’ve come to the right place. As the housing prices in Toronto continue to skyrocket, many people are choosing to convert their basements into rental suites. Not only does a rental suite bring in money that can help pay the mortgage, it also increases the value of your home!

Many people are afraid of converting their basements into rental suites because there is a lot of work involved. That’s why we created a blog that will show you, step by step, how to convert your basement into a rental suite!

Can you Turn your Basement into a Rental Suite?

The first step in the process of converting your basement into a rental suite is ensuring that your can. You must contact your local municipality to see what the rules and regulations of basement rental suites are in your area. Once you get approval to create your basement rental suite, it is time to move on to the planning and drawing stage! Once you know that you can convert your basement into a rental suite, it’s time to move on to the planning stage.


The next step in the process of creating your basement rental suite is to contact the experts. There are several people that can help you with the process, including:

  • An architect
  • A technologist
  • An engineer
  • A qualified tradesman

One or more of these industry experts can help you create the drawings for your dream basement rental suite. Since we are located in Ontario, it is important that the legal professional you choose has a BCIN (Building Code Inspection Number). The professional that you choose will ensure all the legal and safety precautions are met and that all your specific needs and requests are taken into consideration.

Once the plans have been drawn out and you have confirmed that they are inline with your vision, the professional will request all of the needed permits.

Apartment Requirements

When converting your basement into a rental suite, there are many requirements that you must meet. The professional that you hired to create the drawings and obtain all the necessary permits will be able to help ensure that all the necessary requirements are met and built into your plans.

Entryway & Other Exits

When you decide to create a basement rental suite, an entryway and other exits are very important. Without them, your basement will not be up to code and therefore will not pass an inspection.

One of the first steps in ensuring your basement rental suite is safe is creating an unobstructed exit from the basement to the outdoors. This exit will be used to leave the rental suite, but also as an exit in case of emergency. The bonus of having a separate entryway? You will be able to charge more for rent as this is an ideal situation for most tenants.

The amount of emergency exits that your basement rental suite will need is determined on the area that you live in. The professional that you hired for your drawings will be able to inform you of how many emergency exits you require.

Safety Measures

Beyond the emergency exits, you will have to equip your basement rental suite with other fireproofing elements. The amount of requirements is dependant upon the municipalities regulations. Most municipalities require that you have:

  • A fire rated entry door
  • Fire rated windows

Another safety addition to your basement rental suite is carbon monoxide detectors and smoke alarms. These are necessary and depending on the size of your basement rental suite, you may need to install more than one.


This is not a mandatory step, but it is very important. Now that you will be renting out your basement rental suite, soundproofing will help limit the noise that travels. This is a bonus for you and also for your new tenants! There are many different sound proofing methods that range in their level of effectiveness. We suggest that you speak with your contractor about this so that it is part of your plan and not an added expense when the project is complete. Soundproofing can be expensive, but it is something that many tenants will pay extra to have.

What To Do With Your Rental Suite

At this step in the process, your rental suite is ready to furnish and decorate! That means that it is time for you to decide what you want to do with the rental suite. There are many options for this type of space.


One of the most common choices when creating a rental suite is to rent it out! This rental suite can help pay your mortgage or simply become extra income. It is important to speak with your bank and a real estate agent when considering the benefits of this additional income.

In-Law Suite

With the rising costs in the housing market in Toronto, many people are deciding to use their basement rental suite as an in-law suite. As the baby boomers are aging, assisted living centres are becoming more full as well as more expensive. By using your basement rental suite as an in-law suite you will be saving time and money, and you will be able to spend more time with your aging loved ones!

Personal Use

Even when you finish creating your basement rental suite, it doesn’t mean you have to rush to find tenants. You can keep the space for you and your family to enjoy. Who knows, maybe you will enjoy the space so much that your won’t want to rent it out!

Design Ideas

Now that all the mandatory steps have been taken to ensure your basement rental suite is legal, it’s time for the fun stuff – decorating! If you’re planning to rent out the space, keep the design simple and clean. This will allow your tenants to put up pictures and items that make the place feel more like home, without having to remove all your hard work! Just make sure the bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom are fully functional and the rest is simple.

The GJ MacRae Difference

Before you begin converting your basement into a rental suite, it is important to ensure that it is safe, dry and built to code. In order to make sure that your basement is ready to become a home, contact the experts at GJ MacRae! Our team will visit your home and inspect your foundation. We have been repairing foundations for decades, so we know what to look for! If your home requires any work, we will walk you through the process, show you what needs to be fixed, and work around your schedule for the repair! Plus, our basement foundation repairs come with a 15-year transferable warranty! So even if you decide to sell your home, the warranty will still work for the new owners! Call us or visit us online today to learn more about what our team can do for your home!

Gavin MacRae is a professional foundation repair and basement waterproofing expert with over 20 years of experience in the field. He has extensive knowledge about foundation issues such as settlement, and cracks as well as expertise in repair techniques. Gavin is also highly skilled in basement waterproofing using interior and exterior methods. He has worked with hundreds of homeowners to provide permanent solutions to foundation and basement problems.