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What is the New Laneway Suites Bylaw and How is it Affecting the Toronto and East York District?

The GTA is one of the fastest growing areas in North America. Individuals are flocking to the Toronto area for many reasons, including immigration. While this is excellent for the region’s economy, it puts a strain on housing development. The city is actively searching for ways to welcome and accommodate this new demand.

According to a 2018 Fraser Institute study, Toronto has room to grow and its overall popular density — which is 4,457 individuals per square kilometer — is significantly lower than cities such as New York City and Vancouver. Changes must be in place to help accommodate the growth and increase the housing supply in the Toronto and East York District. One of these changes is the new Laneway Suites Bylaw.

What is the New Laneway Suites Bylaw?

In June of 2018, the city of Toronto passed a bylaw permitting the building and use of laneway suites. According to the bylaw, a laneway suite is defined as:

“A self-contained living accommodation for a person or persons living together as a separate single housekeeping unit, in which both food preparation and sanitary facilities are provided for the exclusive use of the occupants of the suite and is in an ancillary building abutting a lane.”

This laneway suite will receive all of its services and resources such as gas, electricity, water, etc., from the front street, not the laneway. It can be used for the family to live in or as a short-term rental.

Why is this Bylaw Important?

One of the greatest benefits of permitting laneway suites throughout Toronto and the East York District is because it provides a significant increase to the housing development. It allows individuals to live and enjoy spaces throughout the city that were not being utilized to their full potential and that are essentially wasted space.

Additionally, it helps beautify these regions. What were once laneways filled with garbage, graffiti, and more will now turn into living areas. Old garages and sheds are transformed into gorgeous living spaces individuals can be proud to call home and visit each night.

It also helps open up and expand various neighborhoods. More individuals can live in neighborhoods close to schools, their jobs, and specific amenities than ever before. It is creating valuable living opportunities for residents in Toronto and the East York District that were once not available.

Furthermore, for owners of these laneways suites, this is an additional source of income if they plan to rent the properties. For those who have sick or aging family members such as in-laws or parents who need a place to live, it provides close proximity, yet gives both households their own space and privacy.

What are the Permitted Uses of Laneway Suites?

If individuals are interested in building a laneway suite on their property, there are specific regulations they must follow. These include:

  • An ancillary building — which is a type of shed, garage, or any other type of enclosure on the property — can be used to create a living space or a laneway suite.
  • The laneway suite may contain both a kitchen and a bathroom area.
  • Residents can occupy a laneway suite, and it can be deemed the principal residence.
  • The laneway suite can also be used as a short-term rental if it is occupied as the renters’ principal residence.
  • Only one ancillary building that contains a laneway suite is allowed on a property owner’s lot.

However, not every lot will meet the requirements for a laneway suite. There are specific requirements for the lot and the landscaping on the property that must be met. A few of these requirements include:

  • The lot must have a rear lot line and a side lot line abutting a lane for at least 3.5 metres.
  • If the lot’s frontage is 6.0 metres or less, 60% of the area between the rear main wall and the front main wall of the ancillary building must be for soft landscaping. For a lot frontage greater than 6.0 metres, this percentage increases to 85%.

What Are the Drawbacks to Laneway Suites?

While laneway suites certainly offer a plethora of benefits, there are drawbacks and concerns that many residents and homeowners have expressed. A few common concerns include:

Privacy: This is one of the biggest concerns as many homeowners are worried that their privacy will be hindered as these dwellings will be able to overlook neighboring yards, into windows of other homes, and more.

Parking: Parking is another concern for many individuals. With the addition of residents living in the laneways, there is a concern for where homeowners and renters will park. Parking will be limited and access must be available for homeowners and emergency personnel. However, the parking issue was addressed in the bylaw itself. It states that “no parking space is required for a laneway suite.” Although, it also states that a laneway suite “must have two bicycle parking spaces within the laneway suite or within any required yard setback.”

Receiving Services and Resources: A laneway suite does not receive its utilities from the lane, rather it comes from the main front street. This means that during the construction stage of the laneway suite, all servicing must be thoroughly examined and determined. Additionally, those living in laneway suites may feel inconvenienced as city employees such as waste collection will not drive down the laneway to collect garbage, but it must all be brought to the main front street.

What If I’m Interested in Building a Laneway Suite?

If you are interested in building a laneway suite, it is important to work with a contractor who understands the specific building regulations, codes, and requirements to legally build the property. These requirements are listed in the bylaw itself but a few include:

  • There can be no less than 5.0 metres between a residential building and the ancillary building if the ancillary building is smaller than 4.0 metres.
  • There can be no less than 7.4 metres from a residential building and the ancillary building if the ancillary building is taller than 4 metres.
  • The maximum length for an ancillary building with a laneway suit is 10.0 metres.
  • The maximum width of an ancillary building with a laneway suite is 8.0 metres and is measured perpendicular to the lot centerline.
  • An ancillary building that contains a laneway suite can have a maximum of two stories.

In addition to the building regulations, there are also several guidelines for structures placed on the exterior of the dwelling. For example, satellite dishes and weather vanes all have specific regulations that must be adhered to if placed on the exterior of the dwelling. You can find more information about these structures and regulations in the bylaw itself. There are also specifications on the roof, equipment such as vents, pipes, etc., , as well as awnings or canopies.

If you are in the market to create the perfect home for your in-laws or family members, or you want to supplement your income with rental property, a laneway suite may be worth your consideration. Do your research and determine if you live within the boundaries that permit this type of dwelling.

Also, speak with builders about the process, time, and money to create this type of structure. With the right team, you can easily create a beautiful dwelling that will provide the space and the living accommodations that many families need. However, you need to carefully ensure that the lot and the ancillary building meets all guidelines and requirements before proceeding.

If you are ready to transform your home with a beautiful addition, a bathroom renovation or even a kitchen remodel, contact a team member at The Renovators of Canada today. They will work closely with you to ensure that your dream living space becomes a beautiful reality.

Why Should Choose the Renovators of Canada for Home Renovations

Whether you are looking to remodel your kitchen, basement, or even the bathroom in your Toronto home, choosing the right contractor is one of the most important decisions you will make. Not only will this decision affect the final outcome of the project, but it will provide you with a smooth and enjoyable experience.

And while the quality of work that the contractor in Canada completes is of utmost importance, it isn’t the only thing that should be taken into consideration. There are many factors that must be evaluated.

Things to Consider When Looking for a Contractor

Not all contractors are the same and it is important that you don’t rush into hiring any company or professional without a full evaluation. Here are just a few things you should consider as you make your choice.

Basic Background Information: You want to ensure that the contractor you choose meets all necessary requirements to legally perform the work. For example, does the company have a current license? What does their insurance coverage look like? These aspects are all important to help you ensure the project is done well and if any problem occurs, that the proper documentation and coverage is available.

Recommendations: If you have a contractor in mind, ask if they can provide references from former clients. You want to speak with past clients to not only determine the company’s quality of work but to also learn how easy they were to work with. You want to work with experts who are friendly, knowledgeable, and honest. Ask about how well the company worked within a budget, followed a schedule, and more. It is also a smart idea to determine if the company has any legal actions against them.

Offers Ideas and Listens to Your Own: This is your home and your project. What you want to do and the ideas you have should be expressed and implemented by the contractor. Good contractors will help you incorporate your ideas and create the space that you envision. But, they also have their own ideas and tips for enhancing the space. Some of the best contractors, like The Renovators of Canada, have a gallery of past projects they have completed so you can easily gather ideas and piece together a stunning space.  

What Type of Customer Service Training Is Important?

In addition to the items listed above, customer service must be a priority and for The Renovators of Canada, it is. They understand that customer service is what creates loyal customers and it encourages the recommendations and referrals to help their business succeed. But even more important, they understand that this is your home — one of the biggest investments you will ever make. A home renovation can be a frustrating and inconvenient process and they want to make the process as smooth and enjoyable for you as possible. Here are a few areas where this home remodel company is striving to ensure you experience incredible customer service.

  1. They Are the Experts

When you are tackling a big project such as a basement remodel or a kitchen renovation, you will likely have dozens of questions and concerns. You want to work with a company that will not only provide you with a detailed explanation but will also ensure that you understand and feel good about their explanation. Additionally, you shouldn’t have to wait a long time for a response either. Rather than wait for days for these questions and concerns to be answered, they should be answered in a fast and timely manner.

  1. Very Friendly and Upbeat

A home remodel is a very exciting project but it can also be very challenging and frustrating. A good contractor, such as The Renovators of Canada, recognize that. No matter how you are feeling, they should be friendly and warm. You should feel comfortable coming to them with questions or concerns and you should walk away from any employee from the company in good spirits.

  1. Listen to What You Say

Whether you are concerned about a change in plans, the price, or just don’t love the current design ideas, an employee from the best companies should be there to listen to your concerns. They should not shrug you off but work with you to address your concerns. And if you are in need of more ideas or how to customize your current plan before the heavy work begins, speak up and let them know.

  1. Fully Trained

Strong customer service begins with fully trained employees. Workers who don’t know what they are doing or don’t fully understand their responsibilities cannot provide proper assistance to their clients. You want to ensure that all employees — no matter their job position or their role in the company — are fully trained. When the staff knows what they are doing, it not only reflects in their overall product but also with each client’s experience.

Safety Training: What You Should Know

When training employees, it shouldn’t simply be time spent focusing on a new policy or how to complete a certain document. Much attention should be placed on the safety of the workers, the home, and any other individual in proximity. Safety training should be mandatory and ongoing. It should not be a one-time training. While many contractors, such as The Renovators of Canada, make safety training a priority, here are a few things you should know and watch out for.

It Encompasses a Variety of Situations

This safety training should focus on a variety of situations from those that are very small and minor to major incidents. The better trained the employees are for certain situations, the more confident clients can feel trusting these workers in their home and with such major projects in their home.

It Is Ongoing

As mentioned previously, safety training should not be a one-time event. As safety policies and procedures change, new training should be made available to employees. Plus, employees should review the content they learn on a regular basis to help them stay up-to-date and ready for whatever the day may throw at them. Additionally, it is important that all employees receive thorough training when first hired to ensure they are trained and aware of any specific policies and procedures to prevent putting themselves or anyone else in danger.

Why the Renovators of Canada Are Your Best Choice

As you narrow down your options of contractors who can help you complete that bedroom renovation or the bathroom remodel in your Toronto home, The Renovators of Canada should be at the top of your list. Not only do they have all the basic needs such as licensing and insurance to ensure a legal project, but they are willing to listen to your needs and offer many ideas to add a custom look to your home. Plus, their extensive training helps you feel confident in their work and in the safety of your home and the workers in it.

Choosing contractors can feel overwhelming — sometimes just as overwhelming as the project itself — but with the right team to work with, you will have a beautiful home that you love and a hassle-free and incredible renovation process.

Contact The Renovators of Canada today to book a free planning session and experience an incredible home remodel.

Finding A Renovation Contractor you can Trust

You’ve decided to renovate your home.  It may be a small bathroom renovation or a full home addition.  As a renovation contractor I have always been amazed how little time customers spend vetting our company.  Our customers will often take the time on large jobs, like home additions, but will take very little time when renovating their washroom.  I’ve heard so many renovation horror stories and its always the same issues;

  • We paid him cash and he’s disappeared.
  • The job was a mess, they ruined my floors, damaged my personal property, never removed the construction garbage.
  • My 2 week bathroom renovation turned into 4 months
  • The quality of work was poor and needs to be redone
  • Water damage due to not using quality trades – especially plumbers

Even recently I spoke to a homeowner who was renovating their whole main floor including their kitchen – the initial budget was $200,000 and to my disbelief they were paying the contractor cash.  Surprise, surprise, when everything fell apart.  Really, $200,000 in cash!

Here are some tips to help you find a contractor;

The simple things to check – Does the contractor have a business number, HST number, WSIB, and General Liability insurance.  Ask for documentation – this should be easily accessible for a reputable renovation contractor.

Check to see if they are part of any industry associations – contractors who have pride in their work and their business are involved in their industry.  They are constantly learning and improving.

There are so many on line rating services that it is worth the time to read up on your contractor.  The public domain can provide great insight as to the company’s strengths and weaknesses.  However, a company that only has 10 out of 10 ratings can be suspicious.  Look for companies that respond to their reviews – good or bad.

Once you have narrowed down the list of contractors to 2 or 3 that you think would be good to deal with, invite them to your home to provide an estimate.  This initial meeting can offer a lot of insight in how your renovation will be managed.  Did the renovation contractor arrive on time, did he remove his shoes, how detailed is his quote, how did he speak to you, did he show you and your family respect?

When deciding to embark on a home renovation, whether big or small, take the time to protect your investment.  It is your home, plus your own well-being that you are dealing with.  Renovations can be very stressful. They can completely disrupt your life while they are going on.  Spending time upfront is a huge advantage.

How to Have the Perfect Renovation Job

When renovating something in your home, the first rule that you should remind yourself is to be realistic. The second thing that you should think about is budget. Forgetting about those two will only spell a fail renovation, and a possibly empty pocket.

A friendly tip, which should be obvious to everyone, is to do some research. Do not let get your impulsive self do the best of you. Also, we want to remind you, and are future clients, that renovation costs do not end with us or any contractor that you will choose. You will also need to be mindful that you will or might need to get a few new appliances and materials to complete the renovation.

In addition, you set aside some extra money for unexpected expenses — whether it would come from the renovation job or any personal or financial problem you would suddenly encounter. Do note that just one unexpected expense can ruin your renovation plan. It might leave some walls unpainted, ceilings unfurnished, or even floors incomplete.

Disregarding our interests, we advise you to at least ask three contractors for quotes. But regardless of that, we assure you that getting us might be least expensive or inexpensive than our competitors, but you can rest assured that you will get quality work.

On the other hand, when it comes to your future appliances, spend time shopping around first. Your missus should certainly love that work if you are the man of the house.

As a perpetual advice, budget is always the name of the game when it comes to renovation. Without careful considerations of what you want and which factors you need to ponder about with the renovation job, you will only waste money and end up with a bad renovation work. No contractor would want to be blamed by a client who got his or her budget mixed up.

If you are interested in our services, you might want to contact us directly. We will even help you get some ideas on how much money you can spend and save when you hire us for the renovation work you want to get done.

Our contact numbers are there, and we would politely help you decide if you, and your finances, are ready to get a new look for the room or rooms that you want to renovate!

Tips for Turning a First Home Into an Income Property

For the past ten years, Scott McGillivray, a 30-year-old real estate entrepreneur, has made a living by transforming houses into income properties. The 30-year-old currently manages 18 properties with over 100 tenants, and now he’s coming to HGTV to help a “house poor” generation create legal income suites and help offset their rising mortgage payments.

Whether it’s a 100-year-old Victorian home, a multi-apartment property or a fully renovated unit in a hip urban area, this entrepreneur can do it all. Check out 10 tips we learned from McGillivray by watching the first episode of HGTV’s Income Property:

  1. 1.Make sure it’s worth it
    As McGillivray says, the cost of renovations has to be able to pay itself back within two years rent. Scout out local markets, get a professional opinion, and be sure to watchIncome Property. Because, hey, who doesn’t want to make a couple of bucks on something they need anyway?
  2. 2.Tag team, if you can
    To use a cliché, two heads are better than one, and home-owning is no exception. Getting to your desired final product is a journey, and having a teammate to share frustrations, anxieties and most importantly, costs with is invaluable.
  3. 3.The best way to learn is to go through the experience
    As one homeowner in the show puts it, “you can read as many books as you want, but you have to experience it.” Every home is unique, and every home will reveal its own problems and potential solutions.
  4. 4.Whatever you budget, add 25 per cent
    When renovating your space, despite what a professionally quoted budget says, add 25 per cent, just in case. If you don’t go over, nothing lost. But if you do, at least you were expecting it.
  5. 5.Houses are like onions
    The more layers you peel back, especially while demolishing, the more problems you’re going to find. Count on hidden gems like mould, live wires and any other hidden costs, just in case.
  6. 6.Consider all the options
    If you have a three-story plus basement house, why just rent out only the basement? As we learn in the first episode, doubling the space not only allows you to live mortgage-free by increasing the rent, it also increases the value of the home. But it also may not be the option for you, especially if you plan on expanding a family or you want access to your backyard.
  7. 7.Make sure the space is livable
    If the kitchen has zero counter space and the bedroom can only fit a bed, not only is it going to be hard to find someone to rent out your unit, but think of the types of people who might be wanting to rent out your unit.
  8. 8.Don’t skimp on the drywall, especially on the ceiling
    Not only do you want a fire barrier between you and your new housemates, you might be thankful for a little bit of sound-proofing in the long run.
  9. 9.Start on the outside
    A separate entrance is key when renting out a basement, especially if you don’t want to mingle too much with your new lessees. And you might want to make sure there are no potential lawsuits hanging around — such as slippery stairs or rotting wood.
  10. 10.Don’t turn your house into a home… right away
    If a long-term investment is what you seek, turning your space into a home right off the bat isn’t going to help pay those accumulating bills. Your No. 1 priority should be making your home into an income source, or at least a manageable entity.

Written By: Jake Fortinsky

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail (info@trocanada.com) with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Renovation Advice From Professionals

Significantly Safe

When performing home improvements, you must always ask yourself if it is an improvement that you can perform on your own. If it is a renovation that is more complex, hiring a professional is usually the safer way to go. This article will help you know your potential, and when you should call a professional to perform your home improvement.

Electrical Execution

When making electrical changes to your home, it is always best to hire a professional.There are many negative consequences that can result from you performing the electrical changes inappropriately. Hiring a professional will eliminate the negative possibilities such as; over-heated electrical wires, overworked circuit breakers, and many more. To ensure that all electrical standards are met; you will need to have in-depth knowledge of the electrical changes you are performing. Even though performing these alterations without a professional will save you money in the short-run, in the long-run you will need to spend endless amounts of money to fix the mistakes you made previously. It is best to spend more money at the beginning of a renovation and to perform these changes safely, rather than spending more money in the future.

Wild Walls

If you are planning to expand your kitchen, or simply create a more open-concept layout, you must understand which walls are load-bearing walls. Load-bearing walls are the walls that are supporting your home, and ensuring that your home does not cave in. Therefore, a renovation that is as simplistic as knocking down one wall, may lead to your entire home collapsing! I recommend at least obtaining information or advice on which wall you can knock down in your home. It may seem like a small change, but a small modification can lead to a large disaster. Unfortunately many of us do not know which walls are safe to eliminate, and therefore hiring a professional to perform this improvement is highly recommended. A professional will have greater knowledge of the structure of your home. You may be thinking, “Well how can they know more about my home, it’s my home!” It may be difficult to believe, but you do not know many things about your home. The professional will be able to identify a cosmetic wall versus a support wall, therefore notifying you of which wall you are able to eradicate.

Lesson Learned

This article discussed a few renovations that are safer when performed by a professional. There are still many other

types of renovations that you should ask a professional to accomplish.The goal of this blog is to expose you to the dangers of performing renovations without a professional. The lesson to take from this article is that, when you are unsure of a renovation or how it should be performed, contact a professional. The professional will be able to provide you with advice and tips for the specific renovation you are planning to execute. Stay safe, and may all your future renovations conclude in success and happiness!

By: Jake Fortinsky

THIS BLOG claims no credit for any images posted on this site unless otherwise noted. Images on this blog are copyright to its respectful owners. If there is an image appearing on this blog that belongs to you and do not wish for it appear on this site, please E-mail (info@trocanada.com) with a link to said image and it will be promptly removed.

Painting Your Interior Walls Successfully

When working on the walls of your home you must decide between two options for your walls. You can choose wallpaper or if you are willing to take on a slightly more difficult job, you can paint your walls. Using wallpaper

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