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Making a legal suite

Discussion in 'Ask A REIN Coach (Certified REIA)' started by bateman99, Nov 29, 2017.

  1. bateman99
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    bateman99 New Forum Member Registered

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    Hi, I have an investment property in Edmonton and want to make my in law suite into a legal suite. I know the basement windows need to be bigger and wonder what the cost would be for that.
    Also the gas heat is controlled by the upstairs and how would I go about separating that? Do I just put in electric baseboards?
    It’s a two bedroom suite. What amount am I looking at to make it a legal suite?
    Anybody know any good contractors that won’t charge me an arm and leg? This house has cost me enough as it is. I will sell within a year, I hope.
    Thanks
     
  2. Tina Myrvang
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    Tina Myrvang Client Care Specialist Staff Member REIN Member

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    Hello,
    Start with going to the city site HERE and seeing what requirement they have for a Secondary Suite. The City of Edmonton encourages Secondary Suites.

    I would start there.
    Cheers!
     
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  3. Marnie
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    Marnie Administrator Staff Member REIN Member

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    If you are selling the house, is it worth your time, energy and money to legalize your in-law suite?
     
  4. bb2
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    bb2 Inspired Forum Member REIN Member

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    At the moment in law suites can be grandfathered so requirements aren’t as extensive as if you were putting in a completely new suite.
    You won’t have to put in another furnace but the basement Tenant will not have access to their own thermostat.

    To determine costs more information is needed.
    - Sq. Footage
    - Does it need a new kitchen/ bathroom
    - Are the walls drywalled or panelled
    - Is the electrical panel upgraded
    - is there enough headroom going into the basement

    Making a window egress can run between 1500-2500

    Feel free to connect with me at 780-446-3814 if you need some help. I have done a lot of legal suites in Edmonton and have learned a lot of lessons along the way.



    Sent from my iPad using myREINspace
     
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  5. bateman99
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    bateman99 New Forum Member Registered

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    Well I figure it would be worth more having it upgraded and legalized. I’ve had this house for 5 years now. I am in Vancouver and would hire a contractor to do it. Just looking for advice and thinking over what you said.
    Thx
     
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  6. Sherilynn
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    Sherilynn Senior Forum Member REIN Member

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    There is no way to tell how much it will cost to legalize without seeing the property. For example, you may need to drywall crawlspaces and storage areas and replace metal railings if they don't meet current codes. These two items can add thousands of dollars to your total bill and yet add absolutely no value to the property (other than completing the legalization of the suite).

    If you are planning to exit the property within a year, it may be worth considering selling now to another investor or Joint Venturing with someone who handles renovations. Feel free to email me at Sherilynn@QDHomeQuest.com if you'd like to discuss this further.
     
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  7. GaryW
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    GaryW Frequent Forum Member REIN Member

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    As stated above, seeing the property is vital and finding a contractor will take some research, as you may very well get quotes based on their work load. Sometimes contractors will bid high, as they may be too busy to take on more and this could be their justification for the addition. I'm not in the Edmonton market, so I don't have any contractor referrals, but here is a start as you've requested.

    "Also the gas heat is controlled by the upstairs and how would I go about separating that? Do I just put in electric baseboards?"
    If you put in extra electric baseboard heaters, you'll probably be opening walls to run the wiring, unless you have T-Bar in the basement as a ceiling, but still may have to open outside walls. Not sure if Edmonton allows T-Bar in the basement upon legalizing a suite, but I'm guessing not, so you could be opening walls anyway.

    Also, you'll have to ensure your main panel have the capacity to handle the extra load. If it can and there's no space left in the panel, then you add a 2nd panel, called a sub-panel and put the extra breakers in that. Not knowing the electric load your property is drawing, I'm going to guess you have a 100 amp panel and adding a 60 amp sub-panel is common, but have it checked by a certified electrician. Just add the amount of heaters, total Wattage and divide by 240 volts to get the current draw. My guess is it will be below 45 amps, which makes a 60 amp sub-panel work. I'm also assuming you'll be adding multiple thermostats on the wall, rather than the relying on the heaters dial, as that's not all that attractive to tenants. They'll likely not turn it down if they go away for a while.

    Of course the quick fix for now, is to add another thermostat in the basement and parallel the thermostats upstairs and downstairs, so the thermostat that is turned up the highest wins. Not ideal, but a quick fix and you'll have to let both tenants know that is the case. On one of my properties, I added the 2nd thermostat in the basement and installed a switch in the basement to toggle between up and down, as my basement tenant didn't like it to warm. This idea came to light, simply because the upstairs tenant went on vacation and left the thermostat too high. Also, not ideal, but its been working fine this way for years now and I do remind them all the time to remember the thermostat if you go away. Of course, this particular property is in close proximity to where I reside, which may not be ideal for you in Vancouver, but matching up and down tenants as best you can upon screening, should help as a mitigation.
     
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  8. bateman99
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    bateman99 New Forum Member Registered

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    Wow, thanks to all who replied. I will be thinking of the thermostat idea.
    The sq ft is approx 850-900sq ft. I don't exactly, there wasn't any measurements done. It does need a new kitchen and the washer/dryer is in the kitchen which is odd.
    The walls are drywalled. And I can't remember if the electrical panel was upgraded and the upstairs was renovated.
    The headroom in the basement is roughly 7'.
    Thx
    Stan
     

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