What is a Laneway House?
Laneway housing is a detached dwelling on a single-family lot, facing the back laneway where the garage is located. One exterior parking space (minimum) is required on all lots with a laneway home. Houses that already have a secondary suite are still eligible. Note that STRATA TITLING IS NOT PERMITTED, as these dwellings are non-saleable.
Why Build a Laneway House?
Every owner has their own reason for wanting to build a laneway home, but most cite the need for alternative housing options. Here are the most common reasons:
Aging parents: A home in the backyard provides close proximity for parents who are fairly independent but still need some care. This could also be a space for caregivers.
Adult children: Instead of moving out entirely, a separate space on the same property provides growing children a cheaper alternative to renting their own place while going to school or starting their career.
Extra income: The laneway house can be rented out as an extra income earner.
Downsizing: Owners can move into their laneway house and rent out their main residence when downsizing.
Building community: Having a home face the back of the property adds liveliness to the back lane, as well as adding the option to plant greenery where there would otherwise be only a garage and concrete.
Being green: Adding more housing options on unused space increases housing density and adds an alternative form of rental housing for years to come. Laneway homes are part of Vancouver’s EcoDensity program and must comply with the new Green Homes Program.
Read more about the lot requirements and dimensions for building a laneway house.
What are the Requirements for Building a Laneway House?
Want to know if your lot is eligible for laneway housing? Here are a few criteria:
RS zoning, single-family zoning
Minimum 7.3m (24) foot wide lot
Must have access to an open lane, either directly or on a corner lot, or be located on a double fronting site served by a street on both the front and rear.
The lot must be deep enough for the laneway house to extend up to 7.9 metres (26 feet) from the rear property line AND have a minimum separation from the main house of 4.9 metres (16 feet), allowing for open backyard space.
There must be a fire access path along one of the side yards.
How Big are Laneway Homes?
Laneway housing can be built in 1 and 1½ storey configurations. The maximum floor area can be determined by multiplying the lot area by 0.16.
On standard 33’ x 122’ lots, this allows a maximum of an approximately 644 square foot home.
On a 50’ x 122’ lot, this allows a maximum of approximately 900 square feet.
If you choose to build a 1 storey house it is limited to the same maximum height as a garage which ranges from 12ft flat and 15 ft sloped roof. Also they allow you to build 32 feet from the alley instead of 25feet which will give you a larger foot print.
There are many other options, and criteria, that will need further investigation, cost, specific lot dimensions, style, age of the house, house location on the property, and corner lot considerations. Who would you hire to construct, which company? If you have any questions about your specific property, or project, or you simply want to meet in person, and discuss your possibilities...Feel free- at no obligation, to email, or call me directly. Let's meet for a coffee, on me, of course, and let's make the right move!
Some examples of a Laneway Home, Carriage & Coach homes...