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Basement entrances and second units

If you’re planning to build or renovate an entrance to a basement, such as a below grade entrance or a side door, there are restrictions on where you can build.

The by-law has general provisions that apply to all properties. However, the zoning regulations for your property might have additional restrictions for basement entrances. Review the general provisions, and then check the zoning regulations for your property.

Check the restrictions for below grade entrances in article of the Zoning By-law.

Check the restrictions for stairs and porches in a side yard in article and of the Zoning By-law.

If something in the general provisions conflicts with the zoning regulations for your property, follow the zoning regulations.

Zoning information sheets

These information sheets show definitions, illustrations, and common regulations from the Zoning By-law for building a basement entrance.

Basement Entrances Information Sheet

Minimum setbacks to greenland zones

If your lot is next to land zoned as greenland, new structures may have to be built farther away from your property line.

Check the setback to greenlands zones in subsection 4.1.8 of the Zoning By-law.

Second units or basement apartments

When building a basement entrance, you’ll need to indicate if it is for a separate basement apartment. An inspection may be required to confirm this.

If the proposed basement entrance is for the existing home, you may need to complete a Single Dwelling Unit Information Letter.

If you’re considering adding a second unit to your home, check the zoning restrictions in section 4.1.20 of the Zoning By-law.

Learn more about second units.

Contact us

If you need more information, please call 311 (905-615-4311 outside City limits).


The information presented on this web page is provided for information purposes only. It should not be solely relied on when making decisions related to real estate transactions, development proposals or building permits.

We strongly advise you review the text in the official Zoning By-law and/or speak with City staff before making important decisions.