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. We expect these changes to be presented to Council in early 2020 for their consideration.

This page contains both information about the proposed new application process, as well as details of the current application process. If you're considering applying to build a coach house, we recommend you review all the information first before you proceed.

Existing rules and process for building a coach house

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

Find out if your property is eligible for a coach house

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

  • 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
  • You must be able to provide sufficient useable onsite parking (three spaces are required; two for your principal residence and one for the coach house)
  • 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 proceed

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

Proposed new application process to be considered in early 2020

News and updates

January 20, 2020 — Adoption

Staff will present the proposed bylaw amendments to Council for adoption.

View the staff report to Council

December 2, 2019 — Second and third reading

Staff presented the proposed coach house bylaw amendment to Council, who gave it second and third reading. A date for Council to consider adopting the bylaw, which is the last step in the process, will be set in early 2020.

View the staff report to Council

November 19, 2019 — Public hearing

Provide your input about the coach house bylaw amendments at the public hearing.

See event details

October 28, 2019 — Revised staff report to Council

Staff presented revised bylaw amendments to Council. 

View the revised report

October 7, 2019 — Staff report to Council

Staff presented an updated report to Council with information from the public engagement process and proposed bylaw amendments.

Review the updated report

October 14, 2018 — Community engagement

From September 20 - October 14, 2018, we spoke with residents and other stakeholders about the proposed changes to the District's Coach House Program.

July 9, 2018 — Staff report to Council

Staff presented the report to Council on the current approach to coach houses, with recommendations for proposed changes.

Staff were directed to proceed with public engagement and bring back bylaw amendments to Council for Introduction and First Reading.

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

Proposed improvements

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

Number of storeys

Process

Proposed new process

 All of the following:

  • Open lane access or corner lot on local street
  • At least 49.2 ft (15m) wide
  • Within the urban containment boundary (set limit between urban and rural areas)
One
  • Building permit
Two
  • Development Variance Permit (requires Council decision)
  • Followed by building permit

Proposed new process

 One of the following:

  • Corner lots at least 49.2 ft (15m) wide on busier streets
  • At least 10,000 sq ft (929 sq m) with no lane access
  • Double fronting lot (lot with frontage on two non-intersecting streets) at least 49.2 ft (15m) wide

And:

  • Within the urban containment boundary (set limit between urban and rural areas)
One or two
  • Development Variance Permit (requires Council decision)
  • Followed by building permit

Existing process

Any of the following:

  • Open lane access
  • Corner lots at least 50 ft (approx 15m) wide
  • At least 10,000 sq ft (929 sq m) with no lane access
One or two
  • Development Variance Permit (requires Council decision)
  • Followed by building permit

 

Get updates about this project

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

  • Corner lot at least 49.2 ft (15m) wide
  • At least 10,000 sq ft (929 sq m) with no lane access
  • Lot with frontage on two non-intersecting streets