So city council has approved laneway homes in neighbourhoods across Toronto and East York District, but now what?
It’s no secret that rental properties in the city are in high demand, and due to the income generating potential laneway homes could provide to current homeowners, you may be wondering if this new housing typology is right for your property. Of course, not all lots in Toronto can accommodate a laneway suite. Primary locations tend to be walkable and well serviced by transit and community amenities. Does this sound like your neighbourhood? Not so fast. There are many factors to consider, and beyond that, there are specific rules and regulations that must be met before applying for a permit. Your property and the potential build must adhere to the following conditions:
• Laneway Suites are permitted on all R-zoned lots containing detached, semi-detached, duplex, and row houses. It should be noted they are not allowed in mixed MCR or CR zones.
• Often, secondary properties cannot be built on dead-end laneways. Why you ask? Laneway homes, similar to all housing properties in the city must be accessible to Fire Services and emergency vehicles. The official rule states that the entrance of the suite must be no more than 45 metres away from a public street.
• Lot size is an essential factor for laneway suites, a lot which is too small can negatively impact not only the tenants but the occupants of the main house and adjacent properties. The goal is to create a living environment both indoors and outdoors that is comfortable and safe.
• A laneway suite should not exceed more than two storeys (or six-metres-tall) and can only contain a single unit.
• Suites must be setback from the rear property line by at least 1.5 meters with dimensions that do not exceed either eight metres in width and 10 metres in length. Also, they must be separated from the rear of the existing home by a distance of 5 to 7.5 meters, depending on their height.
• Adequate lighting is expected; however, it seems unlikely that most laneway suites will be approved for windows along the side of the house due to building code regulations concerning property lines. The amount of natural light should be considered from the onset.
• If there is no tree in the rear yard before construction of a laneway suite, the homeowner will be required to plant one during the construction phase. Similarly, if a tree is removed due to building the laneway suite, it must be replaced to the satisfaction of the City’s Urban Forestry Division.
Zoning bylaws have been put in place to ensure all properties in the vicinity maintain privacy. Privacy is an obvious concern that is being addressed as the city introduces laneway suites as a new housing typology. Improvements to existing laneways is another crucial aspect to rolling out this initiative in a smooth and non-intrusive fashion.
An increase in property value, as well as expansion, are a few benefits homeowners can expect when implementing a laneway suite to their existing property. Toronto and East York District anticipate between 100-300 laneway suites will be constructed now that the city has approved the motion, will your property be one of them?
For the detailed report on considerations, rules and regulations, click here