If you’re tired of seeing the clutter pile up in your garage, then a laneway house may be the next best option. Laneway houses fly under a variety of aliases such as Garden Suites, or Carriage Homes depending on the specific municipality. Currently in Metro Vancouver four cities – Vancouver, Coquitlam, Port Moody, and Pitt Meadows – allow you to knock down your garage, and throw together a secondary living unit on your property.
There are a few specific guidelines that need to be followed in order for the project to come to fruition including:
- – Unit must not be greater than 900 square feet (750 in Vancouver)
- – Only one suite per property
- – There must be an additional parking spot for the unit
- – Unit must be attached to local sewer, water, and drainage systems
- – There must be at least a living room, kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom
- – Can only be built onto a back lane
The cost to build a laneway house is around $250,000 to $275,000 depending on the size and layout, and the built in amenities. About $50,000 goes into the site preparation, while the remaining money covers the cost of construction. Lanefab Design is the primary designer for laneway houses in Metro Vancouver and allow owners to either choose a prefabricated style suite, or to custom design a laneway home. The City of Vancouver mandates that laneway homes can only be rented out as a way to increase the number of rental units within the city. From the property owner’s perspective, The cost of building the laneway unit will be paid back through monthly rental charges, and when the time comes to sell the property the addition of the carriage home will increase the overall property value.
Top 5 Reasons to build a laneway house
1. Increase your property value
- – although it’s a large chunk of change to front, having an additional living space on your property will raise its value when looking to sell
2. Contribute to affordable housing in Vancouver
- – listing a laneway home offers an affordable housing option for prospective renters in Vancouver. If they cannot afford to buy, renting a detached home would be more desirable than an apartment
3. Get rid of a car
- – if your laneway house is replacing a garage, it might be time to say goodbye to an old car. With the skytrain expanding and public transit expanding into Coquitlam, it is a viable transportation option for residents
4. Bring family closer
- – Whether it’s keeping your parents close, or giving your children some solidarity, a backyard suite will keep your family together
5. Become a trendsetter
- – Although already popular in the City of Vancouver, the rest of the Metro Region is still catching up and municipal governments are starting to warm up to the idea
If you’re willing to raise your property value, take your spring cleaning to the next level and trade your old garage for a new laneway house.
More information on laneway houses from Scout Magazine and Vancouver4life.