Toronto Real Estate: The Difference Between Retrofit and Legal Status

iStock_000011155094XSmallToronto apartments and especially Toronto basement apartments are always a big discussion when working with Buyers or Sellers. About 90% of the apartments that I have shown in either single-family homes with basement apartments or multiple family homes, the question is asked: “Is this a legal basement apartment? Does legal mean that it is retrofit?” In both cases the answer, for the most part is “no”.

The number of Toronto apartments that are both Legal and have Retrofit Status  would at a guess, constitute probably 10% of the homes with units that sell every year. If the City of Toronto  really cracked down the rental stock would be greatly depleted and the cost of existing legal and retrofit apartments would probably skyrocket.

For some great clarity, our friends at Carson Dunlop Consulting Engineers  posted this great article to deal with the murky subject. Have a read through and it really will enlighten you.

If you have anything you would like to add or need clarification on please feel free to comment below or email me at

Please note that there are some great phone numbers that would come in handy for every City of Toronto household on the last page. Thanks Carson Dunlop !

4 Replies to “Toronto Real Estate: The Difference Between Retrofit and Legal Status”

  1. Thanks Richard. The clarity is long over due and necessary to understand for lenders, Realtors, homeowners and mortgage agents alike.

  2. hey Richard,

    I’m in a situation right now where the city has no records of my triplex and if I can state my case with enough evidence that my property has been a 3 unit residence since before 1953 the city will allow me the status of triplex without having to bring the home up to today’s zoning and planing standards. It’s an interesting gray area that purchasers should look into before buying a home.

    A zoning review by the city is a very handy $125 to spend to see what possibilities there could be with your investment / home.


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