Everything You Need To Know About Toronto Garden Suites

Everything You Need To Know About Toronto Garden Suites

On top of secondary suites and Laneway Suites in Toronto, the latest approved initiative in Toronto are Toronto Garden Suites. Here’s everything you need to know about Garden Suites in Toronto, including why you should care about them, how much they cost, and requirements that you need to meet to be able to build your own Toronto Garden Suite.

What Is A Garden Suite?

With the approval of Garden Suites in Toronto, you are now allowed to build a separate house in your house’s backyard without needing a laneway as long as you have enough space.

he idea is that these houses will be like Laneway Suites. The intent of Garden Suites is to provide additional housing for rental purposes or multi-generational living. This means a single-family home can be converted to have up to three units: a main house, a secondary suite in the main house, and an accessory structure (Laneway Suite or Garden Suite).

Note that Garden Suites are intended to be “non-severable”, which means they cannot be turned into separate property from the main house. Water, sewer, and other utilities will be connected to the main house.

Why Should You Care About Garden Suites As A Toronto Real Estate Investor?

It costs between $300 and $400 per square foot to build a two-bedroom rental-grade Garden Suite. So, when the project is done, you can expect to pay between $300,000 and $400,000 out of your own pocket if you are building a garden suite that is around 1,000 square feet.

Based on data from laneway suites, a two-bedroom accessory dwelling in Toronto can be rented out for a comparable rent as a two-bedroom condo and half of the price of a two-bedroom condo, so it makes a lot more sense from a rental income perspective. 

This will bump up your rent yields, which ends up giving you much better cash flows on your investment property as a whole. It also improves your debt to income ratios, which is extremely helpful if you’re looking to qualify for more mortgages in the future.

Expenses- $150- $1,000
Monthly NOI$3,150$2,300
Cap Rate10.8%3.7%

What About Value Add?

Honestly, there’s not enough sales data for anyone to give you a clear picture of how much a property with a Garden Suite might be worth. It should worth at least how much you paid for, and there’s a good chance that it will be worth more if you value it based on market cap rates. On this front, time will tell!

Monthly NOI$3,150$4,250
Market Cap Rate5.5%5.5%
Extrapolated Market Price$690,000$927,000
Value Add$340,000$0

Toronto Garden Suite Fire Requirements

Since the house is in the backyard, you’ll need to make sure that it can be reached in case of a fire and that it’s close enough to fire hydrants.

  • From Garden Suite Entrance To Main Road: 45m (148ft)
  • From Main Road to Fire Hydrant: 45m (148ft)

Source: Lanescape

Toronto Garden Suite Footprint Requirements

The maximum footprint is not based on length and width, but is capped at the smallest of:

  • 40% of the rear yard area;
  • 20% of the entire lot size;
  • 60m²  (645ft²)

Source: Lanescape

Toronto Garden Suite Setback & Height Requirements

If your lot is too narrow or short, a Garden Suite might not work even if Laneway Suites do, because setback requirements that are stricter than Laneway Suites. Note that your build cannot exceed 6m (19.7ft) high.

  • Side Setback (per side): At least 10% of the lot frontage;
  • Rear Setback: You need to be at least 1.5m (4.9ft) from the rear lot line;
  • Separation From Main House:
    • If your build is not more than 4m (13.1ft) high, you need to be at least 5m (16.4ft) from the main house;
    • If your build is between 4m – 6m (13.1ft – 19.7ft) high, you need to be at least 7.5m (24.6ft) from the main house.

Source: Lanescape

Toronto Garden Suite Angular Plane Requirements

  • The Garden Suite may not penetrate a 45° angular plane starting from a height of 4.0m on all four sides.

Source: Lanescape

Toronto Garden Suite Landscaping Requirements

You need to have soft landscaping in your backyard, such as grass, to permit water to flow into the ground. Note that permeable pavers also count as soft landscaping, and this can be helpful for parking pad purposes. The amount of landscaping is based on your lot frontage:

  • For Lot Frontage ≤ 6.0m (19.7ft): there needs to be a minimum of 25% in soft landscaping;
  • For Lot Frontage > 6.0m (19.7ft): there needs to be a minimum of 50% in soft landscaping.

Source: Lanescape

Toronto Garden Suite Parking Requirements

No additional car parking is needed but you will need to provide two bicycle parking spaces.

Toronto Garden Suite Tree Reuirements

The lack of trees is important since healthy trees are protected under municipal by-laws. You will not be able to remove an existing tree with a trunk that is bigger than 30 cm. 

Because of this, a tree in the area located where you want to build a garden suite will prevent you from building one.

Other Requirements For Toronto Garden Suites

  • Platforms: Platforms must not exceed 10% of the Garden Suite interior floor space and cannot be located higher than 4.0m above-grade;
  • Number Of Structures: You can only have a maximum of one accessory structure on a single property lot;
  • Interior Area: The Garden Suite’s gross floor area must be less than gross floor area of the main house.

Source: Lanescape

Comparison: Laneway Suites vs. Garden Suites

Here’s a quick comparison between the requirements for Laneway Suites and Garden Suites in Toronto.

Toronto Garden Suites: Additional Resources

If you want more detailed information about Garden Suites in Toronto, please refer to:

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