basement permit

Is a Permit Necessary to Finish Your Basement in Toronto?

Are you finding the space in your home inadequate to your family’s growing needs? For example, it can happen that your kids have grown up, your teenage son needs a room, your daughter came back home after completing studies and got a job near your home, or your elderly parents need an extra room.

You can consider renovating or finishing your basement to fulfil the need in such a need. The fact is that finishing a basement adds value to your home and enhances the living space.

Again, if your basement is unfinished, you are losing out in space. So, you can utilize the potential space by finishing it.

In addition to giving you more space in your home, a finished basement can increase the resale value of your house.

A finished basement is a popular home improvement project among homeowners and could attract more buyers in the future. If you consider a space upgrade, here are five potential benefits of a finished basement for your home.

Benefits of a Finished Basement

Whatever we spoke about so far in the context of the benefits you can reap by finishing your basement was from a generalized perspective. We mean to say that you can discover more meaningful benefits when you look at the specific aspects of a basement finishing.

So, let us have a more detailed look at the benefits of finishing your basement. And, those can be as follows:

Extended Space

The foremost benefit of finishing your basement is getting more living space in your house. Meaning you can utilize the space in many ways to make your life convenient.

You can use the finished basement as:

  • Home office
  • Game room
  • Family room
  • Dining room
  • Hobby room
  • Dining room
  • Home bar

In addition, you can use it as a spare bedroom with a bathroom. It does not matter how you use the finished basement, but it will give you ample space to use creatively.

Increase in Resale Value for Your Home

One of the most remarkable benefits of finishing your basement is getting an increased resale value of your home. That means you will get a good return on investment by finishing your basement.

As your house can appear to be complete with a finished basement, the buyer is likely to offer you a higher price for your house. Moreover, a finished basement indicates more investment in the house. And that can elicit a higher return on investment.

Increase in Energy Efficiency

An unfinished basement usually has insufficient insulation, allowing air to escape. But, a finished basement can have multiple layers of insulation to keep the temperature consistent. As such, lesser energy is needed to cool or heat your home.

Finishing your basement can reduce your energy bills and limit your carbon footprint.

Storage and Organization

If your existing space in your home is disorganized, finishing your basement can be a sensible solution.

The finished basement can be a good place to keep the extra stuff with added space. You can attach storage solutions like cabinets or built-in shelving to store items securely.

Source of Income

Finally, a finished basement can be a source of income. You can turn it into a spare bedroom and rent it out to earn money. Alternately, you can run things, like a tutorial centre, to make an extra income.

The Pertinent Question

A pertinent question that arises in finishing a basement in Toronto is—does it mandate the need for a permit? And, the answer is in the affirmative.

Notably, not all people planning for renovation or construction of a basement in the city are aware of the need for a permit. And, there can be people who know about the existence of the rule but tend to ignore it. Such people are likely to start their basement projects without obtaining a permit.

If they do so, they will face the corresponding consequences. Remember, if you set your basement project in motion without obtaining the permit, it can prove to be a costly mistake. You will need to pay heavy fines.

So, you now have understood why such a permit is necessary.

The Need to Obtain a Permit

The official name of the permit is Building Permit, which is official permission to carry out construction, demolition, addition or renovation on your property. So, you need to obtain the permit for basement renovation project.

Having a permit beforehand is a dependable indicator of your project plan conforming to the guidelines of the Ontario Building Code, local Zoning By-laws and other relevant rules.

The Permit Issuing Body

In Canada, the municipal building departments enforce the Ontario Building Code, including the building permit. And, it is necessary before construction, renovation, demolishing or changing the use of a building.

After you submit your project plan to the municipality, the body will review it to ensure your plan complies with:

  • The Building Code setting the norms for the design and construction of buildings
  • The local zoning bylaw and other planning controls on buildings

With the permit, the municipality can protect the community from safety hazards.

Applying for a Building Permit

Before you apply for a building permit, you should know the application mode. First, you need to collect the application form.

The form is available at the municipality office or the Ministry of Municipal Affairs and Housing’s website.

In the context of submitting the filled application form for the permit, you have to submit it to your municipality but not to the provincial government.

In addition to the applicable fee, you should attach drawings, plans, and other documents with the form while submitting it.

After the municipality issues you a building permit, you can start your basement finishing project.

Municipality officials will visit your project site during the project phase to carry out the essential inspections. They will inspect your project to ensure that you carry out the work according to the Building Code guidelines.

Therefore, you should display a copy of your building permit at your project site. Moreover, the inspector can ask for a copy of your project plan.

What Will Be the Consequence of Not Obtaining the Permit?

If you execute your basement finishing project without obtaining a basement permitit will be unlawful in Canada. As a result, you will need to pay significant penalties as that will amount to violation of laws.

According to the existing Ontario building code, you may have to pay up to $50,000 for the first offence. And the fines for subsequent violations can be up to $100,000.

In addition to the fines, the city administration may destroy all the work you did without obtaining the permit. So, you will see significant wastage of money.


So, you have got the answer by now. You need to obtain a permit before you actuate your basement finishing project. As we have already said, you will have to undergo penalties if you execute the project without a permit.

Also, you can delegate the responsibility of obtaining a permit to Orana, a consulting service provider for all real estate projects, if you do not want to involve yourself in the permit application process.