Affordable housing in Toronto has become a serious issue with the increase in housing prices, so the address the issues, the municipal government has implemented rules for secondary units in homes for rental.
With many families facing an aging relative to care for, these ‘granny flats’ seem appealing compared to the costs of elderly care. Basement suites are legal, but what about garage suites?
It’s a Case by Case Evaluation
In Toronto, you would apply for approval by public works, ambulance and fire, and the planning department if your home’s footprint changes as a result of the renovation. If you’re looking to expand your garage and your garage is located in the alleyway tucked in from the street your house faces, your application is considered laneway housing. In order to be granted laneway housing, your home would be rezoned.
Being Up to Code
Once all the permits have been acquired, you must ensure that your garage apartment is up to code. Building code protects inhabitants from dangers such as fire, plumbing, and other hazards. Hiring the right electricians and contractors will ensure that the job is done right, and the result will be worth it. Once you rent out the garage, your extra income can go towards recouping renovation expenses.
Complying with Second Suite Requirements
The second suite must have its own kitchen and bathroom, which may be shared with the tenants who share the suite. You may not have a second suite if the house or its additions are less than five years old. Even though the floor area of the second suite must be smaller than the remaining unit, it must be self-contained with its own entrance separate from the rest of the home.
Homes with a second suite must have at least two parking spaces to accommodate the renters and inhabitants of the main structure. The parking can be in tandem (one behind the other) unless your home is in districts R2, R3 and R4 districts where only one parking space is required for a house with a second suite.
Turning Your Home into a Multi-Unit Home
If you have a basement suite already, it’s legal to create another suite equipped with its own kitchen and bathroom. You must change your home’s status to multi-unit, but luckily this won’t change much about your home or property taxes. With the housing market being as competitive as it is, many young homeowners see renting as a viable way to finance their first home. In the past, multi unit homes weren’t as attractive as regular ones, but the trend is quickly turning around.
Both single-detached homes and semidetached are eligible for a second suite. Of course, regulations vary by city, so if you’re outside of the Toronto area, consult your local municipality for more information!
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