With rental space in high demand throughout Ontario, real estate salespeople are seeing increased interest in properties that contain secondary apartment units.
Stating that the home contains an income-generating unit can attract particular interest from buyers.
Before you move forward with advertising your property as having a legal accessory, basement, or second-unit apartment, confirm that the living space you’re describing meets local legal and safety requirements. Some of these include provincial and municipal bylaws, such as electrical and fire codes. If you are able, provide an interested buyer with a compliance certificate.
When listing a property with a second unit, it is highly advisable that you work with a real estate rep or broker who has handled similar transactions. I also recommend hiring a real estate lawyer to ensure you meet all the legal requirements in your area.
If the apartment does not meet the definition or requirements of a legal apartment, or is not bylaw compliant, speak with your salesperson or broker to discuss your advertising options and disclosure obligations.
Misrepresenting a dwelling — in this case, the legal legitimacy of a unit — can have potentially devastating ramifications for both a seller and the new buyer. Real estate salespeople and brokers are bound to uphold ethical standards and cannot misrepresent the status of a property when asked, regardless of their duty to represent your best interests.
While Ontario buyers, under the legal doctrine of caveat emptor (buyer beware), are ultimately responsible for ensuring a property is suitable for their needs, sellers have an obligation to disclose and provide supporting information as requested.
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