Income Property FAQs

Retrofit is Legislation contained in the Ontario Fire Code to bring buildings constructed prior to 1975 up to a reasonable level of fire safety. To date, this portion covers assembly occupancies, boarding, lodging and rooming houses, health care facilities, low and hi-rise apartment buildings and homes containing accessory or basement apartments. The Ontario Fire Code clearly states under Part 1 that the Owner is responsible to carry out the provisions of this code. Often on a listing you will read: “Vendor does not warrant retrofit status”. This implies that the seller is aware that work has been done to alter the premises, but has not gone to the municipality to get a retrofit certificate. In all provinces, all accessory apartments must meet fire code regulations, regardless of building status.

Yes. If there is a strong enough rental stream and your personal income is high enough a lender may consider giving you a loan for more than 75% of the value of the property. Often the first mortgage is for 75% of the purchase price. The difference is made up in a second, higher ratio mortgage. Second mortgages can also be secured through CMHC. Once you have determined the maximum amount that you can give for a deposit, speak to your lender to determine how a high a purchase price can be contemplated, based on the specifics of the property’s and your personal income.

A duplex with a basement apartment is just that: a duplex with a basement apartment. Most often there are two legitimate units with a legal non-conforming basement. This is not a triplex. If you have three self-contained units and you would like to change the legal status of your building, you have to go to your local municipal offices to find out more about how they zone and categorize multiple family dwellings. If you have a basement apartment that is “not legal” you must ensure that it meets all fire and safety standards. The fire marshal is not likely to force you to remove an apartment but you may be fined if you are in violation of your local fire code. If you are unsure about the legal status of your income property or would like to have it changed, consult with your attorney.

There are many real estate related publications in most Canadian cities that you could advertise in. The most common place to advertise a suite for rent is in the classified section of your city’s leading newspaper. You can have your agent list your suite for rent on MLS – but bear in mind you will have to pay a commission (usually one month’s rent) Also, a sign on your property will alert anybody walking or driving by your property that there is an apartment for rent.

In Canada, the proceeds from the sale of a property that was your principal residence is tax-free. With a residential income property, you may claim a capital gains exemption only for the percentage of space within the property that you occupied. Currently in Canada capital gains are taxed at 50% of the net gain of your sale at your marginal tax rate. For example, if you sell your income property for $50,000 more than you paid, you will have to declare an additional $25,000 on taxable income. It is strongly recommended that you discuss the tax implications of selling your income property with your accountant or financial planner.

To find out about parking permits and pad parking, call your local municipal offices. In some cases, you may be permitted to add a parking pad or increased parking spots to your property. Familiarize yourself with the regulations for street parking in your neighbourhood.

Compare rates of return from other investment vehicles to see how they stack up against the real estate buy you are considering. Take a look at guaranteed investments and see what kind of returns they offer. Consider the prime interest rate. In general, a prudent investor will be looking for a double-digit (10% or better) rate of return – but there are really no hard and fast rules. Consider what is important to you for the future and purchase your investment real estate with this in mind. Also, have your agents show you comparable properties in the neighbourhood to assess cap rates and overall levels of profitability.

Everything that you need to find is available right here on this site. To get landlord/tenant and relevant city information, go to the Toolkit and click through to the Landlord Toolkit for resources in your province or city.

More Resources: