Would You Like to Convert Your Basement Into a Rental Unit?

Would You Like to Convert Your Basement Into a Rental Unit?

Many homeowners want to renovate their basement with the objective of turning it into a residential dwelling that can become a new monthly revenue stream.


This is a great option for earning extra money or paying back your mortgage more quickly. Is this a plan you are interested in embarking upon? Here’s what you need to know!

Are You Allowed to Convert Your Basement Into an Apartment?

The first thing you must check is if your municipality permits to conversion of a single-family home basement into a rental unit. Some municipal governments prohibit this practice, while those that do permit it, have set rules that must be adhered to. It’s therefore best to be certain you understand these rules before you decide to go ahead.

You must also make sure you comply with the National Building Code which, among other aspects, ensures for your future tenant’s safety.

The Essentials

An independent dwelling must have a kitchen, bathroom and, ideally, a laundry area (although it can be omitted if there is a laundromat in the neighbourhood). Renovations to integrate all these components into the basement can therefore be quite extensive and expensive.

If you don’t want to undertake such work, consider only renting out a room in the basement. The tenant will thus have their own bathroom on that floor but will have to use your kitchen. However, because they won’t have their own separate dwelling, their financial contribution will be smaller. It’s up to you to decide if you are comfortable with this scenario.


Draw Up the Plans and Obtain a Permit

To avoid spending money unnecessarily, hire an architect, technician, or engineer certified by the Régie du bâtiment du Québec. They will be able to draw up realistic plans to maximize the return on your investment.

In fact, these plans are often mandatory when applying for a permit from your municipality to carry out this type of work.

Set Your Budget and Carefully Select Your Contractors

Once you will have determined how much money you can invest in your project to turn your basement into a rental unit, talk to a few building contractors experienced in this kind of renovation.

Don’t hesitate to ask them questions and request quotes to find a professional you can confidently assign your project to. There is no need to feel embarrassed about asking for references from former clients!

Another important point: before you start renovating, call your insurer. They will modify your contract accordingly.

Create a Comfortable and Safe Living Environment

Many types of renovation work and upgrades will ensure that not only your tenant but also you and your family have a good quality of life:

  • To prevent mould issues, make sure the unit has a good ventilation system and that the humidity level is adequate.
  • Add windows so that there is enough natural light. Choose quality materials that will please potential tenants and be more durable.
  • Select a comfortable flooring material, avoiding cold and hard concrete. Vinyl, engineered wood, and laminate flooring are good options.
  • Optimize the use of space in the dwelling by installing a built-in bed, for example.  
  • To maintain your privacy, make sure the unit is well soundproofed and has its own front door.

Offer Your Tenant Some Perks

Here’s a tip: to motivate potential tenants into signing a lease for your basement rental, put it on the market at a competitive price compared to similar units and offer enticing extras.

You might, for example, have the rent include heating, cable and internet or grant the tenant access to your yard, barbecue, or pool. A parking space will likewise be greatly appreciated.

Do you have surplus items of furniture? Listing the dwelling as fully or partially furnished might make finding a tenant easier, like someone who has just separated from their partner and doesn’t necessarily have the spare cash on hand to buy a whole new set of furnishings.

You now have all the information you need to get started on your project to turn your basement into a rental unit!

RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

By RE/MAX Québec

A leader in the real estate industry since 1982, the RE/MAX network brings together the most efficient brokers.