What is Required for a Legal Basement Suite?

September 14, 2018

Why Is a Side Entrance Not Enough? 5 Must-Have Items for a Legal Suite Featured Image

Did you know the CMHC allows up to 100% of the rental income from legal secondary suites to be used when qualifying for a mortgage?

For these reasons, there’s no better time to consider an income suite as a means to making your new home dreams a reality! 

Something to note, though: you’ll need more than just a side entrance if you’re hoping to attract renters. There are also a few income suite requirements you’ll need to be aware of prior to taking in a renter. But don’t worry, we’re here to help. Take a look at our suggestions below for more information on what you’ll want and need for your income suite.

Proper Side Entrance

Renters want an entrance that feels like it’s walking into their private home. Make your side entrance look great by including a wide sidewalk to reach the door, a light to help people see their way up the path, a doorbell that rings into the separate suite, and a peephole so the person knows who’s outside before they open the door. These things won’t cost you a lot of extra money – especially when you think of them as part of the monthly mortgage payment – but they add a lot of curb appeal to your rental unit.

Why Is a Side Entrance Not Enough? 5 Must-Have Items for a Legal Suite Kitchen Image

Lockable Door to the Suite… And to Your Home

Most of the time, side entrances open up to a landing inside the home. You go up the stairs to the main living area of the home, or down the stairs to a basement or separate suite. If you plan to rent out the basement suite, you probably want to establish some security and privacy for both you and your renter. This means you want solid doors that lock going down to the suite and up to your home. This will make everyone more comfortable.

Laundry Room 

Any rental unit that has its own laundry room is sure to go fast. Many of our floor plans include second-floor laundry rooms you can use for your own family, then you can place a washer and dryer unit inside your rental suite. Stacked units are great if you want to include this feature without taking up a lot of space, but remember it needs to be near a water source. Talk to your builder about the best location for something like this.

Why Is a Side Entrance Not Enough? 5 Must-Have Items for a Legal Suite Dining Room Image

Separate Utilities

When you take on a renter, you’ll be sharing some of your space, but you don’t want to share the utilities. You want an income suite that has its own meters for electricity, gas, and water. This is a slight expense, but it creates a fair system. Trying to divide the bills based on usage or number of people living in each place never works out well.

Additionally, you’ll probably want a separate furnace and water heater for your income suite. The separate furnace will allow your renter to control the temperature – and the utility costs – as he or she sees fit. The separate water heater means no one has to wait to take a shower. Think about splurging on a tankless water heater. The convenience and energy savings are a big deal.

Finished Mechanical Room with Door

As you look at floor plans, you’ll notice all finished basements include some type of “mechanical room.” This is the place where you’ll find things like the furnace, the water heater, the main water pipe, and sometimes a connection to the sewage and wastewater system. It’s a necessary part of any home, but it can also be an eyesore. Depending on the layout of your finished basement, you’ll probably want to give this space a finished look, and you’ll definitely want to include a door so the tenant can shut that space off. This is not as important if the mechanical room is not a part of the income suite, as you’ll find in some layouts.

Including an income suite in your home is an excellent way to get some help paying your mortgage – and a great new home builder can help you! If you’ve been thinking of reasons to add an income suite, talk to us about designs that we know work particularly well which can also include above garage suites if you prefer. We also have special packages that include everything you need!
Get in touch with Sterling today, we’d love to tell you more about how we can make your new home dreams possible.

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