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Hardly legal income suites unfortunately the norm, agents say

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Real Estate Professional | 22 Oct 2014, 11:47 AM Agree 0
While fiduciary responsibility may ultimately rest with the broker, industry pros are calling on agents to verify the legality of their sellers’ income suites. Good luck with that, BTW.
  • | 22 Oct 2014, 02:45 PM Agree 0
    R1 zoning in Alberta refers to a single family dwelling that prohibits a suite. Perhaps there is a typo in the article.
  • judy | 22 Oct 2014, 03:15 PM Agree 0
    ditto in BC!
  • Benny | 22 Oct 2014, 03:23 PM Agree 0
    err... in the Toronto area. You cannot harp on this. If you rid the city of all the basement apartments, you will force lots of people to sleep on the street. The real estate agent can only list the homes as it already exists. Always Buyer Beware and Do not warrant the retrofit status of the basement.
  • David | 22 Oct 2014, 04:03 PM Agree 0
    Regarding the R1 question, zoning bylaws are municipality specific in Ontario. R1 here in Oakville does not allow for accessory apartments.

    Spoke with a real estate lawyer on this subject recently. He advised not to use terms like "legal non conforming" and "retrofit status" as they are outdated and misleading. And since many municipalities are vague on what is legal, he also said you have to be with what they tell you. .

    His advice was to advertise it as per the sellers wishes, put a disclaimer in the MLS listing to protect myself and a disclaimer in the agreement of purchase and sale to protect me and my seller client. So it does come back to buyer beware!

    According to the Ontario government, second suites are going to become much more popular to help deal with the high price of housing here - so we had better get educated on the subject.

  • | 22 Oct 2014, 05:51 PM Agree 0
    I was with a client recently who was charged under the by-law for advertising for rent amongst other things, before the license was approved, the lawyer for the city told us that anyone who even advertises is liable for prosecution by the city unless there is a license in place, as Realtors we must be wary of how we list a rental or sale we can even be charged, he said, if we say a finished basement if there were no permits as buyers would presume it was finished legally. Looking at the line up with summonses in hand I can only say the Municipalities are obviously looking at this a revenue stream both the license and fines. Fines can range from $500 to $1,000 per charge, plus you can’t just plead guilty you have to appear so at least a half day of your time too
  • george | 31 Oct 2014, 07:38 PM Agree 0
    ..the problem is, what is the definition of a family these days..a single mom with 2 kids? I have a house on half an acre..on a road that goes from Windsor to Niagra Falls...(not exactly suburbia)..and the zoning is the most restrictive. I can not have a legal basement apartment even though there is a separate entrance, a landing at the top of the stairs, a fireproof door separating the units, 7 foot basement ceilings, good size windows above grade. Yet I can have 3 dogs and 5 cats.(licenced off course) problem..the truth is the inmates have taken over the asylum at city hall.
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