Build a coach house

A coach house is a detached compact home, usually built in the rear yard of a single-family residential lot.

Sometimes called a laneway house or carriage home, a coach house can provide you with additional rental income, while increasing the diversity of rental housing choices in single family neighbourhoods.

A coach house can't be sold separately from the main house or placed under strata title.

We're simplifying the coach house process

Coach houses play an important role in meeting our goal of diversifying housing options, and we're considering a number of changes to simplify the coach house application process.

Thinking of building a coach house right away? Review the current rules

Proposed changes

Proposed improvements include new or simplified permitting requirements, changes to allowable floor space, revised parking requirements, and more.

Under the proposed changes, some lots would qualify for a more simplified process, while others would continue with the existing process.,

  Lot eligibility criteria Process (one-storey coach house)  Process (two-storey coach house)
Proposed new process 
  • open lane access
  • at least 49.2 ft (15m) wide
  • a minimum area of 5,000 sq ft (464.5 sq m)
  • within the urban containment boundary
Building permit
  • Development permit issued by staff
  • Followed by a building permit
Existing process Corner lot at least 50 ft (approx 15m) wide Development Variance Permit (requires council decision) Development Variance Permit (requires council decision)
Existing process At least 10,000 sq ft (929 sq m) with no lane access Development Variance Permit (requires council decision) Development Variance Permit (requires council decision)

Review the report that outlines these changes (starts on page 151)

Next steps for our improved process

Between September 20 and October 14, 2018 we talked to residents and other stakeholders about the proposed changes, and asked everyone to share their thoughts, either in person, or through an online survey.

We are summarizing what we heard during this consultation, and will make that summary available here in Fall 2018.

Next, we will be drafting a bylaw amendment for Council’s consideration, which we anticipate bringing forward near the end of 2018 or early 2019.

Stay informed about these proposed changes

If you would like to be updated about progress with this project, please complete our online contact form, and we will notify you by email when there is new information.

(Did you take our online coach house survey and provide your email address then? You do not need to sign up again.)

Sign up for coach house updates

Thinking of building a coach house now? Here are the current rules

Is your property eligible?

Is my property eligible for a coach house?

To be eligible to build a coach house, your single family lot must satisfy these general requirements:

  • Your lot must be over 929 m2 (10,000 square feet) — or at least 15m (50 feet) wide on a corner lot, or with access to an open lane
  • You cannot have an existing secondary suite, either attached or detached
  • The combined size of your principal house and coach house can't exceed the allowed maximum density for your zone 
  • The proposal must meet the Development Permit Area Policy of Schedule B in the OCP

Not all single family home sites are suitable for coach house development. Be sure to confirm with us that your property qualifies before you proceed.

How to get started

Interested in building a coach house? Learn more

Download our complete Coach House How-To Guide to get complete details, including:

  • help determining if your site is eligible
  • a step by step approach to the application process
  • help figuring out costs
  • detailed design and development criteria
  • important contacts and resources
  • frequently asked questions

Download the coach house how-to guide

Download the coach house inquiry checklist