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 general provisions that regulate where you can build.

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

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

The zoning of your property might have additional regulations for basement entrances. Review the general provisions, and then check the zoning regulations for your property using the find property information tool.

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.

You can determine if your lot is next to a greenland zone by using the zoning information map.

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 general provisions in section 4.1.20 of the Zoning By-law.

The zoning regulations for your property might have additional restrictions for second units.

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.