Basement Rental Conversions Recommended In Windsor

Windsor homeowners could soon be able to legally convert basements and even garages into bachelor pads and one bedroom apartments.

A recommendation from the city's Planning, Heritage and Economic Development Standing Committee looks to change the Official Plan to allow for secondary units in residential areas.

Committee chair Bill Marra says the Official Plan change would allow the conversions in single-detached, semi-detached, townhouses and row houses.

"It's really an opportunity to meet some demand in the community and it's not something that's inconsistent with communities that we've seen, really, across the province and in some cases across the country," says Marra.

However, there are some restrictions.

Permits will only be issued for basement conversions in homes that have flood mitigation measures like a back flow prevention valve, a sump pump and downspouts disconnected.

Homes in designated floodplain areas won't be allowed to have basement apartments at all.

AM800-News-Bill-Marra-Committee-1

Windsor city councillor Bill Marra chairs the Environment, Transportation and Public Safety Standing Committee meeting on July 19, 2017. (Photo by Ricardo Veneza)

Marra says the committee is recommending the move to deal with a backlog of more than 3,000 people looking for bachelor and one bedroom units.

"It should ease the waiting list a little bit," says Marra. "We don't know the level of demand we'll see in the first year. We know there's a demand for it so, certainly we're going to monitor it. There will be an annual report that can be brought forward to council."

Marra stresses the recommendation still needs council approval before any permits are issued, but he sees it as a way to fill a housing gap in the city.

"It really creates an affordable housing opportunity for students, for seniors — so, it's a very creative opportunity to address a lot of different demographics and housing needs in Windsor."

Council is expected to vote on the matter in August.