Laneway Suites and Garden Suites

Laneway suites and garden suites are great additions for Toronto homeowners. Whether you are interested in improving your current living space through an added sense of privacy, or you are looking to create a rental unit and bring in additional income. In either case, you will see an increase in property value and reap the many benefits of these newly desired home renovation projects.  As the premier custom home builders in Toronto and the surrounding GTA, allow NOR Contractors to design and plan the laneway or garden suite of your dreams!

What is a Garden Suite?

A garden suite is defined as a detached secondary suite. Commonly referred to as “tiny homes”, “coach houses”, and “backyard suites”, these are non-severable units that remain under the same ownership as the main house. This type of home addition is fully serviced, including water, sewage, gas, and electrical, via the principal residence or main street.

What is a Laneway Suite?

A laneway suite is a residential unit located on the same lot as a house, though self-contained. A laneway suite is completely detached from the main house on the lot and is generally smaller in size, typically located in the backyard next to a public laneway. 

Both laneway and garden suites extend the wide range of housing options and provide new rental housing opportunities within established neighborhoods.

Laneway & Garden Suite Programs

As part of the laneway and garden suite initiatives, Toronto has launched these two programs to encourage eligible property owners to develop secondary/ancillary dwelling units:

  • The Affordable Laneway and Garden Suite Program provides funding in the form of a forgivable loan of up to $50,000 for eligible property owners developing a laneway or garden suite. Starting from the date when the first tenant occupies the suite, the loan will be forgiven in 15 years’ time. The rent being charged must comply with the City of Toronto Average Market Rent, during the 15-year affordability period. This program is more targeted to those property owners intending to rent out their suites. These suite additions increase the availability of affordable housing for tenants in Toronto.
  • The Development Charges (DC) Deferral Program for Ancillary Secondary Dwelling Units allows for a DC deferral for eligible property owners developing a secondary dwelling unit at the rear of a property. This program allows development charges to be deferred for 20 years following the construction of a laneway or garden suite.

In both programs, the idea is to help alleviate some of the financial hurdles of building either a laneway or garden suite. You can click here for more information to learn who can apply and how to apply for either program respectively.

Rules and Regulations

If you are thinking of building a garden suite or laneway, consider the following key requirements:

The location and size of a suite, the size of the main home, lot width and/or depth, adequate emergency access, and the location of mature trees are all factors that will influence whether or not a property can accommodate the addition of a suite. For instance, the Garden Suite’s size will have coverage of 60 sq.m. or 40% of rear yard, whatever is less.

In order to be granted a building permit, a proposed garden or laneway suite must comply with the relevant Ontario Building Code regulations and the Zoning By-law. The provisions of appropriate access and travel distance for emergency services such as fire fighting access, minimum building area, room sizes, and floor heights, are all components to be reviewed.

In order to support the preservation of existing trees, laneway or garden suites and any type of residential construction should not result in the removal of a healthy by-law protected tree. If a laneway suite’s design necessitates the injury or removal of a tree, or there is a potential for damage to private trees, the Division of Parks, Forestry, & Recreation may refuse the permit.

If you need additional assistance and guidance or more information about the rules, regulations, and provisions of the Zoning By-law, check out this summary for not only garden and laneway suites, but for basements, landscaping, side yards, flooring, and more too.

Cost of Building a Garden Suite or Laneway Suite

Though costs may vary depending on factors such as property size and eligibility for the city’s support programs, here are some of the basic fees and/or charges property owners can expect to encounter when creating a Toronto laneway suite or a garden suite:

  • Permit Applications. As a base rate, the cost of a permit in Toronto is $17.16 per square meter. Click here for more information about building permit fees. To certify your home to be eligible for use by tenants also requires fees. 
  • Architecture and Engineering Fees. With the support of NOR Contractors, you can ensure that your suite will be visually pleasing, structurally sound, and will be able to withstand Toronto’s notoriously harsh winters.
  • Demolition & Construction. In some cases, a home may need demolition services before suite construction can begin. It is a rough estimate that the construction of a property will be around $200 per square foot.

Why Choose NOR Contractors 

The luxury homeowners receive by choosing NOR Contractors is the benefit of our partnership with certain financial institutions. Over the years, we have created strong bonds and maintained dependable relationships with a number of financial institutions across Toronto and the GTA.  Our credibility and trust in the industry have allowed us to provide financing programs for laneway and garden suite buildings, depending on each individual case.

Trusting NOR Contractors – A Professional in Custom Home Additions

Creating the perfect laneway and garden suite starts with trusting the right people. Contact NOR Contractors for our skilled team of custom home builders to ensure rules and regulations are met, all within budget. With over 10 years of experience in Toronto’s residential industry, NOR Contractors is well-prepared to help you plan and design the laneway and garden suite suitable for your needs. 

We are much more than any ordinary general contractor. Our dedicated project managers and team are committed to the success of your project. With our technical and creative expertise, strong work ethic, and polite, professional attitudes, there is no laneway suite contractor in Toronto more prepared to create a tenant-ready laneway suite than we are. NOR Contractors is here to assist with any and all questions or concerns regarding permits, paperwork, and overall project management. To learn more about our services, view our portfolio, call us or book a consultation to begin building the custom home addition you’ve always wanted! 

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