Multiple Dwellings

Basment Page 

 

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(On these pages, we use the term “dwelling unit” to describe individual residential units within a single building.)

 

Your home may contain more than one dwelling unit. As the owner, you are responsible for complying with the Ontario Fire Code, the Ontario Building Code and City of Brampton bylaws. These pages provide you with information and resources so that you can comply with the codes and the City’s bylaws.

 

As the owner, you are responsible for carrying out the provisions of the code. If a fire or other incident occurs, you will be held liable for failing the meet the requirements of the code, which may result in fines of as much as $50,000 and time in prison for each situation that violates the code, Also, having more than one dwelling unit in your home may make your home owner’s insurance coverage “null and void” – which means that your insurance provider will no longer pay for any damage resulting from a fire or other incident in your home.

 

If you are the owner of a two-unit dwelling, often also referred to as a basement apartment, and wish to ensure that your two-unit dwelling meets the fire safety provisions of the Fire Code, then please review the following information and follow the directions found there.

It is important to note that Fire Prevention Officers are designated as Assistants to the Fire Marshal by Ontario law. As such, they are law enforcement officers and do not provide fire safety consulting services.

Click here to access the Two Unit Dwelling Owner Package

expandRequirements for Smoke Alarms and Carbon Monoxide Alarms
  • You must install smoke alarms on every storey of each dwelling unit outside of the sleeping area.
  • You must install a carbon monoxide alarm (or “CO alarm”) outside of the sleeping area in each dwelling unit of a house that contains a fuel-fired appliance (such as gas or oil furnace or fireplace).

Additional Requirements

Note: The Ontario Fire Code applies, no matter who is living in additional units in your home - even if they are members of your family.

 

 

Identify which of the following conditions applies to your home, and then see below for more information.

 

  • two dwelling units built before July 14, 1994
  • two dwelling units built between July 15, 1994 and November 15, 1995
  • two dwelling units built from November 16, 1995 until now
  • two dwelling units
  • three or more dwelling units

You may need a lot of time to comply with the fire and building code and City bylaws, so start the process as soon as you can. Contact the City of Brampton Zoning Division at 905-874-2090 to find out if the City’s Zoning By-Law allows you to have another dwelling unit in your home.

 

You are guilty of an offence if you refuse or neglect to obey or carry out the directives of the Fire Marshal, an assistant to the Fire Marshal or a fire chief given and that you could be liable to a fine of as much as $20,000 or even imprisonment for a term of not more than one year, or both.

 

Section 28.(1)(d) of the Fire Protection and Prevention Act, and 1997, c.4.s.28(1) and 2002, c.18, Schedule N, s.6

 

A fire prevention officer will inspect your home 90 days (three months) after the City has sent you a copy of this information. We expect that by the day that the fire prevention officer inspects your home, your building fully complies with all codes and bylaws and that you can provide all relevant documentation. To help you get ready, please complete the checklist.

 

The fire prevention officer will file charges when he or she visits your home after 90 days, if your building does not comply with all codes and bylaws.

 

expandAppendix 1: Legal Non-Conforming Two-Unit Dwellings built before July 14, 1994

Older laws may permit many two-unit residences built before July 14, 1994. Legal non-conforming, in this case, means that the City of Brampton Zoning By-Law allows one more dwelling unit in your home but does not mean that your residence necessarily conforms with the Ontario Fire Code. The Ontario Fire Code applies no matter who is living in the additional dwelling unit in your home. The Ontario Fire Code defines a dwelling unit as “a room or suite of rooms operated as a housekeeping unit that is used by one or more persons and that contains cooking, eating, living, sleeping and sanitary facilities”.

 

If you don’t comply with the code you may have to pay fines of as much as $50,000 and as much as one year in prison for each incident where you’ve violated the code.

 

To comply, you must take ALL of these steps:

 

  1. Ask the City of Brampton Zoning Division to permit you to use an additional dwelling unit. Contact Zoning at 905-874-2090.
  2. The dwelling units must comply with Division B, Section 9.8 of the 2007 Ontario Fire Code
  3. The Electrical Safety Authority must inspect your home and you must correct any issues or deficiencies before the fire prevention officer inspects your home. You can contact the Electrical Safety Authority at 1-877-372-7233.
  4. You must install operating smoke alarms on every storey of each dwelling unit outside of the sleeping area.
  5. You must install a carbon monoxide alarm (or “CO alarm”) outside of the sleeping area in each dwelling unit of a house that contains a fuel-fired appliance (such as a gas or oil furnace or fireplace).

OR

 

 

You can convert the property back to one dwelling unit by taking ALL of these steps:

 

  1. Remove all tenants or occupants from one of the dwelling units, and
  2. Remove the locks separating the units and replaced them with passage sets, and
  3. You must sign the one-unit dwelling declaration and give it to the fire prevention officer, and
  4. You must install operating smoke alarms on every storey of each dwelling unit outside of the sleeping area.
  5. You must install a carbon monoxide alarm (or “CO alarm”) outside of the sleeping area in each dwelling unit of a house that contains a fuel-fired appliance (such as a gas or oil furnace or fireplace).

We strongly recommended that you contact a consultant help you do any work to comply with the codes or bylaws or restore a two-unit residence to just one unit. You can find consultants in the Yellow Pages or at the Office of the Fire Marshal.

 

You must get a building permit before you start any work. Call the City of Brampton Building Division at 905-874-2401 before you visit their office in person to find out what you need to apply for a permit.

 

A fire prevention officer will visit your home after 90 days to inspect your entire property and will expect that the building fully complies with all codes and bylaws. If you want your two-unit residence to comply with the Fire Code, you must provide copies of two electrical inspection certificates with no deficiencies, one for each of the two-dwelling units. You may also have to provide a copy of your building permit and a copy of the consultants report on whatever work you have done.

expandAppendix 2: Legal Non-Conforming Two-Unit Dwelling built between July 5, 1994 and November 15, 1995

Older laws may permit many two-unit residences built before July 14, 1994 however, some sections of the Ontario Fire Code do not apply. Legal non-conforming, in this case, means that the City of Brampton Zoning By-Law allows one more dwelling unit  in your home, and does not mean that your home necessarily conforms with the Ontario Building Code.

 

The Ontario Building Code applies no matter who is living in the additional unit in your home. The Ontario Fire Code defines a dwelling unit as “a room or suite of rooms operated as a housekeeping unit that is used by one or more persons and that contains cooking, eating, living, sleeping and sanitary facilities”.

 

If you don’t comply with the code you may have to pay fines of as much as $50,000 and as much as one year in prison for each incident where you’ve violated the code.

 

To comply, you must take ALL of these steps:

 

  1. The dwelling unit must comply with the requirements of Part 9 or Part 11 of the 1990 Ontario Building Code with the 1994 amendments, and
  2. The Electrical Safety Authority must inspect your home and you must correct any issues or deficiencies before the fire prevention officer inspects your home. You can contact the Electrical Safety Authority at 1-877-372-7233.
  3. You must install operating smoke alarms on every storey of each dwelling unit outside of the sleeping area.
  4. You must install a carbon monoxide alarm (or “CO alarm”) outside of the sleeping area in each dwelling unit of a house that contains a fuel-fired appliance (such as a gas or oil furnace or fireplace).

OR

 

You can convert the property back to one dwelling unit by taking ALL of thesesteps:

 

  1. Remove all tenants or occupants from one of the dwelling units, and
  2. Remove the locks separating the units and replaced them with passage sets, and
  3. You must sign the one-unit dwelling declaration and give it to the fire prevention officer, and
  4. You must install operating smoke alarms on every storey of each dwelling unit outside of the sleeping area.
  5. You must install a carbon monoxide alarm (or “CO alarm”) outside of the sleeping area in each dwelling unit of a house that contains a fuel-fired appliance (such as a gas or oil furnace or fireplace).

Contact the City of Brampton Zoning Division at 905-874-2090 to find out if the City’s Zoning By-Law allows you to have another dwelling unit in your home.

 

We strongly recommended that you contact a consultant help you do any work to comply with the codes or bylaws or restore a two-unit residence to just one unit. You can find consultants in the Yellow Pages or at the Office of the Fire Marshal.

 

You must get a building permit before you start any work. Call the City of Brampton Building Division at 905-874-2401 before you visit their office in person to find out what you need to apply for a permit.

 

 

A fire prevention officer will visit your home after 90 days to inspect your entire property and will expect that the building fully complies with all codes and bylaws. If you want your two-unit residence to comply with the Fire Code, you must provide copies of two electrical inspection certificates with no deficiencies, one for each of the two-dwelling units. You may also have to provide a copy of your building permit and a copy of the consultants report on whatever work you have done.

 

If you don’t comply with all codes and bylaws, you may be prosecuted.

expandAppendix 3: Two units built from November 16, 1995 until now, or that the owner doesn’t know when they were built – illegal use

You must not have more than one dwelling unit in your home, more than one unit in a home is not safe. You must convert the property back to one a dwelling-unit house, no matter who is occupying the additional dwelling unit.

 

The Ontario Fire Code defines a dwelling unit as “a room or suite of rooms operated as a housekeeping unit that is used by one or more persons and that contains cooking, eating, living, sleeping and sanitary facilities”.

 

You must convert the property back to one dwelling unit by completing ALL of these steps:

 

  1. Remove all tenants or occupants from one of the dwelling units, and
  2. Remove the locks separating the units and replaced them with passage sets, and
  3. You must sign the one-unit dwelling declaration and give it to the fire prevention officer, and
  4. You must install operating smoke alarms on every storey of each dwelling unit outside of the sleeping area.
  5. You must install a carbon monoxide alarm (or “CO alarm”) outside of the sleeping area in each dwelling unit of a house that contains a fuel-fired appliance (such as a gas or oil furnace or fireplace).

A fire prevention officer will visit your home after 90 days to inspect the entire property and the officer will expect that the building fully complies with all codes and bylaws. The officer will expect that you will have converted the building back to a one dwelling unit house and if you have not, will file charges against you.

 

If you don’t comply with all codes and bylaws you may be prosecuted.

expandAppendix 4: Three or more dwelling units – illegal use

Contact the City of Brampton Zoning Division at 905-874-2090 to find out if the City’s Zoning By-Law allows you to have two or more dwelling units in your home.

 

Staff of the Zoning Division will contact you by letter to let you know whether the City has zoned your property for more than two dwelling units and that they are approving your building with three or more dwelling units. You should contact the fire prevention officer that the letter will name.

 

If the Zoning Divison has not approved your request, you must convert the property back to a one dwelling-unit house, no matter who is occupying the additional units.

 

You must convert the home back to a one-dwelling unit by completing ALL of these steps:

 

  1. Remove all tenants or occupants from one of the dwelling units, and
  2. Remove the locks separating the units and replaced them with passage sets, and
  3. You must sign the one-unit dwelling declaration and give it to the fire prevention officer, and
  4. You must install operating smoke alarms on every storey of each dwelling unit outside of the sleeping area.
  5. You must install a carbon monoxide alarm (or “CO alarm”) outside of the sleeping area in each dwelling unit of a house that contains a fuel-fired appliance (such as a gas or oil furnace or fireplace).

A Fire Prevention Officer will visit your home after 90 days to inspect the entire property and the officer will expect that the building fully complies with all codes and bylaws. The officer will expect that the building complies with Appendix 1 or Appendix 2 and if it does not, the officer will file charges against you.

 

If you don’t comply with all codes and by-laws you may be prosecuted.

expandAppendix 5: Checklist for Owner

Have you installed smoke alarms between each sleeping area and the rest of the dwelling unit? If you have hallways between the sleeping areas, install the smoke alarms in the hallways. Also install at least one smoke alarm on each storey that does not contain a sleeping area in a dwelling unit.

Yes         No

 

 

Do you have working carbon monoxide alarms in each dwelling unit so that everyone living in the unit can hear the alarm can be in the bedrooms when the doors are closed?

Yes         No

 

 

Have you noted the date and time when the fire prevention officer will inspect your home?

Yes         No

 

 

If you have converted your residence back to a one-unit dwelling, have you completed and signed the one-unit dwelling declaration form?

Yes         No

 

 

Has the Zoning Division approved your second dwelling unit?

Yes         No

 

 

If you answered Yes to this question, then you must answer the following questions too.

 

 

Do you have a building permit and approved drawings?

Yes         No

 

 

Has the building inspector signed your building permit?

Yes         No

 

 

Has the Electrical Safety Authority inspected the electrical system?

Yes         No

 

 

Do you have a copy of two electrical safety inspection certificates demonstrating that you have complied with codes and bylaws for each of the two dwelling units to give to the fire prevention officer?

Yes         No

 

 

Do you have a copy of the consultant’s report, if you hired one, to give to the Fire Prevention Officer?

Yes         No