November 2, 2012
Silvana Longo chats with co-owner of Nostco Construction Peter Khatami about the ins and outs of reconfiguring the space in your home. Whether you’re creating a rental unit or a man cave, Khatami’s expert advice will help get you there.
Q November is that time of year when we retreat back inside our homes and enjoy the calm period before the flurry of activity of the holidays takes over. It seems like the perfect time to finally create that man cave — since space inside the home is usually spoken for — a lot of homeowners are converting their garage into a living space. What is required to pull it off successfully and how do you get started?
A I would typically begin with a zoning inquiry just to ensure that losing the parking space does not in any way infringe on local bylaws. Once that is out of the way, we first look at what is required in terms of construction as per the Ontario Building Code. Consider this the stage in which you develop a list of “must-dos”. This will involve the removal of the garage door, the construction of a new exterior wall, installation of windows and doors, insulation, HVAC, electrical, flooring, drywall, etc…
All of this information will need to be on a completed set of Construction Drawings as per the requirements of the Building Department, check with your local municipality, in order to obtain a Building Permit (Required). Once the permit is issued and the zoning checks have been cleared up, proceed with construction. The Building department will perform inspections at various stages, until completion.
Q You have gone over your financial goals for 2013 and there is only one way to achieve them — rental income. Before you can have a rental- ready space, you need to finish your basement and make it suitable to attract quality renters. Before you start putting up the drywall, what permits are required? What are some of the zoning, taxes and bylaw considerations?
A Zoning will determine whether Accessory Dwelling Units (i.e., basement apartments) are permitted within the geographic boundary in which the home resides, again check your local municipality). Bylaws will determine the parameters in defining minimum requirements for Accessory Dwelling Units. Such parameters will include the number of parking spaces that have to be available, the percentage of square footage permitted in relation to the existing dwelling unit, and other similar requirements. If you intend on building within these parameters, you will require a Building Permit unless you are applying for a “change of use” permit in which there is no construction. In order to obtain a Permit, you will require Architectural drawings that demonstrate compliance with the Ontario Building Code. Renting out a basement apartment without having met the Zoning, Bylaw, Building Code, Fire Department and subsequent tax requirements can lead to detrimental health, safety and legal ramifications. Consult your local Building Department as they are typically very helpful in assisting homeowners through the process to legally register and construct their Accessory Dwelling Units.
Q You’ve got the green light to become a landlord. Now how do you go about finishing your basement in a cost-efficient way to maximize your rental? What are some of the finishes and features that renters are looking for in a space?
A Nearly all of the investors that we have worked with over the years tend to focus on meeting the minimum Building Code requirements (Fire separation, Exit doors, Egress windows, Smoke Detectors, etc.) as their main priority. These are the items that relate to legally registering a basement. Separate laundry facilities are a big favourite. The finishes and features will be determined by the demographic that you are seeking to attract as tenants. “Executive” level finishes are appropriate when ROI figures reinforce and justify the initial investment, and that won’t work in every neighbourhood.
Peter is co-owner of Nostco Construction, a design/build, project management and contracting firm serving residential and commercial clients throughout the GTA. With more than 10 years of industry experience, Peter prides himself in working tirelessly on behalf of his clients to transform vision to successful reality on every project. nostco.com
Filed under: RENOVATIONS