Vancouver has given the green light to a new pilot housing project. Vancouver homeowners will soon be able to transform their garages into small living spaces over the next three years. After the three-year period has ended, or 100 units of small residential units have been constructed, the City Council will review the project’s success and make recommendations for improvements before allowing everyone in single-family zones to build these apartments.
These living spaces, known as laneway homes, have been incorporated into the urban landscape of many cities including Toronto and Montreal. The area of approved laneway units cannot exceed 750 square feet. The maximum height is 1 1/2 stories. Also, 16 feet must be between the back of your house and the front end of the laneway suite.
Advocates for laneway homes argue that as Vancouver’s real estate prices rise above most people’s means, innovative housing options like laneway apartments will become more important. This is especially true in today’s economic climate where many people are losing their jobs and finding it difficult to pay their bills.
Students and retirees are particularly in need of affordable housing options. Laneway housing might be one option. For example, aging parents could rent their main house out to relatives or tenants and move into their garage. This would help them financially and reduce the amount they need to maintain the property. You’d also feel secure knowing that someone is always available to assist you in case of an emergency.
Parents could build a small house on their property for their college-age children and then offer it to them. It would allow both parents and children to live in a smaller home, which would reduce living expenses.
Vancouver needs affordable housing options. There must also be more inventory. There are only a few rental options available in the downtown core. One solution to the vacancy problem could be Laneway housing.
The proposal’s opponents argue that laneway housing will harm the neighborhood landscape and result in densely populated areas. Many single-family homes are the predominant type of neighborhood, and residents want it to stay that way. Residents also believe there will be greater demand for resources like water and electricity if each house has a suite attached.