Laneway Suites + Garden Suites: Affordable Housing at Your Doorstep (Literally)
Experiencing a shortage of space?
Want an extra space to rent out?
Want an affordable and sustainable secondary housing option?
You have two housing options to choose from—Laneway Suites and Garden Suites. Let’s understand what these are in detail.
What Are Laneway Suites?
Laneway suites, also known as “alley houses,” “coach houses,” or “garage apartments,” are small residential dwellings. They are typically built in the alleys or laneways behind existing homes in urban areas.
Often built as a separate structure from the main house, they are usually smaller in size, typically ranging from 500 to 1,200 square feet. They may be used as a secondary dwelling unit, providing additional living space for family members, or as a rental unit for additional income.
Got It. So, What Are Garden Suites?
Garden suites, also known as accessory dwelling units (ADUs), are self-contained living units that are typically located in the backyard of a single-family home. They are designed to provide additional housing options while utilizing existing space in a cost-effective and sustainable manner.
Garden suites can come in a variety of forms, such as a small standalone house, a converted garage, or a repurposed storage shed. They typically include a kitchen, a bathroom, and a living area and can be designed for long-term occupancy or short-term rentals.
7 Benefits of Laneway Suites + Garden Suites for You
Laneway suites and garden suites can provide numerous benefits, including:
- Increased housing options: They can increase the number of housing options available in neighborhoods where housing may be limited or expensive.
- Increased affordability: By creating additional housing units, they can help improve the affordability of housing, especially in areas with high demand and limited supply.
- Increased income: Homeowners can generate additional income by renting out their laneway or garden suite, helping offset the cost of their mortgage or other expenses.
- Improved use of underutilized space: Many laneways and backyards are currently underutilized, and laneway and garden suites can make better use of this space by providing additional living space.
- Improved urban density: Laneway and garden suites can help improve urban density by creating additional housing units without requiring additional land or infrastructure.
- Reduced environmental impact: Garden suites can incorporate sustainable design features such as green roofs, rainwater harvesting, and solar panels to reduce environmental impact and promote sustainability.
- Increased community connections: Garden suites can help build community connections by providing opportunities for homeowners to rent out their garden suites to friends or family members, creating a closer-knit community.
Are There Any Governing Laws for Laneway Suites and Garden Suites?
The short answer? Yes.
Like many cities, Toronto has developed its own regulations and guidelines for building and using laneway suites as well as garden suites. These laws are regulated by the City of Toronto’s Official Plan, Zoning Bylaws, and Building Code:
- Official Plan: In 2018, the City of Toronto adopted a new Official Plan that encourages the creation of more housing options, including Laneway Suites and Garden Suites.
- Zoning Bylaws: The City of Toronto amended its Zoning Bylaws in 2018 to allow for the construction of Laneway and Garden Suites on eligible properties.
- Building Code: The Building Code sets out technical standards for the construction of Laneway Suites and Garden Suites to ensure they are safe and habitable.
In addition to these governing laws, Laneway Suites and Garden Suites must also comply with a set of specific requirements such as:
- Eligible properties: Laneway Suites and Garden Suites are only allowed on properties that meet certain criteria, such as having access to a laneway or being located on a corner lot.
- Size restrictions: Laneway Suites cannot exceed 10% of the lot area or 807 square feet, whichever is smaller. Garden Suites cannot exceed 50% of the rear yard or 807 square feet, whichever is smaller.
- Design guidelines: The City of Toronto has established design guidelines to ensure that Laneway Suites and Garden Suites are compatible with the existing neighborhood context and do not negatively impact the privacy, light, or views of neighboring properties.
- Approval process: Property owners must obtain various approvals, including a building permit and site plan approval, before constructing a Laneway Suite or Garden Suite.
These regulations are subject to change. Additionally, both garden suites and laneway suites are subject to local zoning and building codes and may require permits and approvals from the local government before construction can begin.
It’s important to consult with a local expert like TroCanada and check local regulations before starting any garden suite/laneway suite construction project.
Why TroCanada Is the Right Choice for You
Choosing TroCanada for building a garden suite or laneway suite offers numerous benefits:
- Local knowledge and expertise: Based in Toronto, our experts have a deep understanding of the local building codes and regulations that are specific to the city. The team is familiar with the requirements for building garden suites and laneway suites in Toronto and can guide you through the process to ensure that your project is completed in compliance with all the necessary regulations.
- Access to local resources: We also have established relationships with local suppliers and contractors, which can help to ensure that your project is completed on time and on budget. We will also source high-quality materials and skilled labor that is specific to your needs.
- Design expertise: We come with years of experience designing garden and laneway suites that are tailored to your personalized needs. Our end goal is to create a design that maximizes the available space and complements the existing architecture of your property.
- Quality assurance: When you work with us, you can expect a high level of quality assurance. We use only the best materials and workmanship and will take care to ensure that the project is completed to the highest standards.
Whether you want to build a garden suite or a laneway suite, we can provide peace of mind that your project is in good hands and that it will be completed to your satisfaction.