It’s my dad’s birthday next week. He’s a hard person to buy a gift for – aside from vanilla ice cream, a really tacky store-bought cake, and all his ids and grandkids at the table, there isn’t much that he needs or wants. So what do you get for the person who’s impossible to shop for? This year, we’ve decided to get him a consultation with an architect to explore the feasibility of building a laneway house!
When my parents first got married they set their sights on homeownership. As a young couple just setting out in their professional careers the most important criteria for them was affordability and location. They first purchased a 5-unit house in Cabbagetown in the late ’70’s, which they painstakingly converted to 3 units (that’s where my sister and I were born). Shortly thereafter, my dad was transferred to Calgary for work, so they rented the house (on a 5 yr term!), packed up the kids, and started anew. My dad was transferred back 3 yrs later, and with their home fully rented for another 2 yrs, they purchased a home in Moss Park in the mid-80’s, which he still owns today. I have been working with my parents for some time now to make a plan for their properties as they settle into retirement, and one of the projects we have been contemplating is what to do with the crumbling yet historic double garage in Moss Park.
There are many advantages to building a laneway house. Top of the list would be that laneway houses can be rented out to generate additional income for homeowners. The rental income can help offset the cost of building the laneway house and provide a long-term source of income. Laneway houses provide additional housing options in areas where housing is in high demand, as well as affordable housing options for renters or family members. This is a great solution for homeowners looking to ‘age in place’ and live in a smaller home on their property while still being close to family and friends. Laneway houses can be designed to be flexible spaces that can be used for a variety of purposes, such as a home office, guesthouse, or a space for people to escape to when the main house gets too crowded.
The first step is to determine if in fact your property is eligible for a laneway house. Toronto has specific guidelines and requirements that you must follow, so it’s essential that you do your research first. The requirements for building a laneway house in Toronto are outlined in the city’s Laneway Suites bylaw, which was adopted in 2018. Here are some of the key requirements:
These are just some of the key requirements for building a laneway house in Toronto. It’s essential to review the city’s full Laneway Suites bylaw and consult with a professional to ensure compliance with all regulations.
Once you have determined that your property is eligible for a laneway house, your next step will be to hire an architect. Choosing an architect is an important decision when planning to build a new project, as they will help you create a design that meets your needs and complies with Toronto’s zoning and building regulations. Here are some tips on how to choose an architect:
Getting a building permit in Toronto requires submitting detailed information about the proposed construction project to the city’s Building Division. Here is some of the information that is typically required:
It’s important to note that the requirements for a building permit may vary depending on the specific project and location. It’s essential to consult with the city’s Building Division or a qualified professional to ensure that you have all the necessary information and documentation before submitting your application. The City of Toronto has prepared a very informative handout on the Building Permit process, I recommend checking it out.
Hiring a contractor in Toronto can be a daunting task, but there are several steps you can take to ensure you find the right one for your project. Here are some tips on how to hire a contractor in Toronto:
Hiring the right contractor is crucial to the success of your project, so take your time to research and choose the best fit for your needs.
Getting utilities connected after construction in Toronto requires some planning and coordination with the various utility companies. Here are the general steps to follow:
It’s important to note that the process for connecting utilities can vary depending on the specific utility companies and the location of the property. Make sure to check with the relevant utility companies and the city to ensure you have all the necessary information and documentation before starting the process.
At various stages of construction, you will be required to book inspections for your Building, Plumbing, and Mechanical Permits to ensure everything is being built and installed to code. You can book inspections with the City of Toronto by phone or online, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind along the way:
The process for obtaining an occupancy permit can vary depending on the specific building and location. Make sure to check with the city’s Building Division to ensure you have all the necessary information and documentation before starting the process.
So there you have it – I’ll follow up with my own experiences as we journey through the Laneway House project. No doubt there will be hurdles, delays, disagreements, tears, lots of laughter, learnings and in the end a family success story to pass on to the next generation of Jackson’s. Stay tuned!