Fines Increase for Illegal Basement Apartments in Milton

Milton’s Building Division and the Fire Department have joined forces to investigate a growing number of public concerns about illegal and dangerous basement apartments in Milton. In addition to checking permits, the Town has made it a practice to issue tickets on the spot for violations related to smoke alarm and carbon monoxide detectors.

“A working fire alarm saves lives,” said Dave Pratt, Milton’s Fire Chief. “Home owners must keep their basement apartments up-to-code.”

Tickets issued for permit violations have led to a number of successful convictions in Provincial Offences court. Penalties have drastically increased in the last year. Permit fines have typically fallen between $500 -1,000. However, a recent conviction for an illegal apartment in August resulted in a Milton resident paying a penalty of $5,000.

“The steep increase in fines demonstrates how seriously these types of violations are being taken by the courts,” said Colin Brook, Chief Building Official. “In the last year, our department has seen more than 27 code violations, which is a 32% increase from the previous year. We realize that basement apartments are an attractive option for homeowners to help offset costs, but property owners must ensure they are constructing these in accordance with the Ontario Building Code for the safety of all the occupants in the home.”

Permit violation and fines are avoidable. The Town encourages residents to contact the Planning and Development Department if they are thinking of constructing an accessory apartment, in order to obtain the correct permits and confirm code requirements.  Accessory Apartments are defined as “self-contained dwelling units creating by converting a part of an existing dwelling.”

All new, and existing accessory apartments require a building permit and must comply with any applicable laws and standards.  This includes the Building Code, Fire Code, property standards by-laws, and the Town of Milton Zoning By-law.

For more information on building permits, zoning requirements and the Ontario Building Code requirements for basement apartments, visit