I live in Toronto and want to put two rooms in my basement on Airbnb to help with mortgage. The home is old 70's home with wood paneling, drop ceiling, carpet on concrete floor and old bathroom that shows signs on leakage in past. I want to modernize the basement and create 2 bedroom unit. I want to get the necessary permits required to complete the work.
Now, we are exploring the idea of getting the permits for legal basement vs personal use permits to make sure we are safeguarding ourselves any accidental liabilities and providing a safe space for guests.
Looking at Toronto City's STR regulation
You can host a short-term rental in a secondary suite or laneway suite, as long as the suite is your principal residence.
A secondary suite is a self-contained and separate living accommodation where food preparation and sanitary facilities are provided for the exclusive use of the occupants. This is located within a larger house (for example, a basement apartment).
If you reside in the main portion of house, you are not permitted to separately short-term rent the secondary suite or laneway suite.
If I get the legal permit and finish the basement then will I be able to put it on Airbnb for STR?
After converting to legal basement, will I still be able to call it my principal residence as no one else can call it their principal residence?
Reading to the points above looks like if I convert the basement to legal and given that I will reside on main floor I cannot do STR in my basement? Am I reading this correctly?
Is there a way I can finish the basement legally and still be able to fulfill city's regulations?
My first question to you: Does the basement have egress windows and doors? No windows large enough to escape in the case of an emergency would render your basement an illegal bedroom rental in my location.
In answer to your question about your STR regulation, it reads to me that if the basement apartment is separate in its entirety from the main house, only a person living in that apartment can sublease a room to a transient guest.
I would ask your agency further -- for example, if the basement apartment has a door that is accessible to the house above that is used as an emergency egress door or is the means of accessing the apartment by the occupants, i.e., they can enter your house via a foyer and then go through a door to the basement without using the other basement entrance, can you live upstairs and rent the basement as an STR. Best wishes.