Mississauga Finally Makes it Easier to Register Basement Apartments

For years, the city has been relatively draconian about second units (more colloquially known as basement apartments).

That's about to change.

According to a recent city press release, Mississauga is making it easier and less costly to register second units. The move will help homeowners who need additional income and renters who need an affordable place to live. Since the city is working to tackle its mounting affordable housing crisis, the move couldn't come at a better time.

Today, city council approved a new bylaw that will "improve the registration process for second units (basement apartments), in-law suites and secondary units. The city has repealed the current licensing process and will now require that houses containing a second unit be registered."

Fortunately for homeowners with second units, registration is free of charge. Also, homeowners will no longer have to purchase or renew a license. Existing second unit license holders will be automatically registered.

"We are improving the way second units are registered to help increase affordable housing in the city," said Mayor Bonnie Crombie. "By making the process easier and less expensive, more homeowners and tenants can access safe, affordable housing in our communities."

While the news is good, there are a few things second-unit owners should keep in mind to make sure everything is above board.

The city requires that houses with second units comply with the Ontario Building Code, Ontario Fire Code and Zoning By-law.

"City staff are committed to helping improve access to affordable housing options such as second units," said Ed Sajecki, Commissioner of Planning and Building. "Staff from both the city's building and fire teams are available to guide homeowners through the registration process to ensure second units are safe and meet all regulatory requirements."

You can find more info here.

As of now, affordability is a serious issue for one in three Mississauga households. As home prices and rental rates continue to climb, more residents are finding themselves spread thin -- or, in some cases, on the verge of financial crisis -- in an environment where wages have not kept pace with the escalating cost of living. Registering basement apartments helps ensure residents have access to legal, safe and, most importantly, affordable basement suits that typically cost less than units in rental buildings and condos.

So, some good news for cash-strapped owners and renters with a stricter budget.

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