Toronto Garden Suites Information & Updates

Toronto Garden Suites Information & Updates

On top of secondary suites and laneway houses, the next project is the addition of new garden suites in Toronto to increase mid-density housing options. Here are our highlights for the current draft by-laws of Toronto’s garden suites.

What Is A Garden Suite?

A garden suite is an additional smaller house, detached from the main house, located in the rear yard of low-rise residence properties in Toronto. 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 house 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.

Garden Suites Approval Timeline

Phase 1: Background

Spring 2021 (done)

Phase 2: Policy & By-Law Development

Fall 2021 (done)

Phase 3: Implementation

Recommend Policy & Regulations (Early 2022)

Final Report & Statutory Public Meeting: Planning & Housing Committee (Early 2022)

City Council Adoption (Spring / Summer 2022)

Draft Emergency Access Requirements

  • There needs to be a 1.0m wide x 2.1m high access from the front street to the garden suite entrance;
  • The access route must not exceed 45.0m in length;
  • The distance to a fire hydrant must not exceed 90.0m from the garden suite entrance.

Source: Lanescape

Draft Maximum Building Footprint Requirements

The size of the garden suite should be the smallest of:

  • 40% of the rear yard area;
  • 20% of the entire lot size;
  • 60m² (this is the largest possible garden suite size).

Source: Lanescape

Draft Setback Requirements

There will be requirements for the distance from the garden suite to the rear, side, and main house:

  • Rear: At least 1.5m from rear lot line (plus other requirements if lot depth is >= 45.0m or a through lot);
  • Side: At least 10% of the lot frontage, between 0.6 – 3.0m from side lot line (plus other requirements if doors and windows are on a side wall or on a corner lot);
  • Distance From Main House: If building height is <= 4.0m, then it needs to be at least 5.0m from the main house; if building height is > 4.0m, then it needs to be at least 7.5m from the main house.

Draft Height Requirements

  • If the distance from main house is >= 7.5m, the maximum height between average grade and highest point of roof is 6.0m.
  • If the distance from main house is < 7.5m, the maximum height between average grade and highest point of roof is 4.0m.

Draft Angular Plane Requirements

  • The garden suite may not penetrate a 45° angular plane starting from a height of 4.0m;
  • There is an allowance for a vertical extension of front main wall for up to 30% of the total front wall width.

Source: Lanescape

Draft Landscaping Requirements

  • For Lot Frontage <= 6.0m: there needs to be a minimum of 25% in soft landscaping;
  • For Lot Frontage > 6.0m: there needs to be a minimum of 50% in soft landscaping.

Other Draft Requirements

  • Platforms: Platforms must not exceed 10% of the garden suite interior floor space and cannot be located higher than 4.0m above-grade;
  • Parking: No additional car parking is needed but you will need to provide two bicycle parking spaces;
  • Number Of Structures: You can only have a maximum of one accessory structure on a single property lot (laneway houses and garden suites); 
  • Interior Area: The garden suite’s gross floor area must be less than gross floor area of the main house.

References & Resources

If you want more detailed information about garden suites, please refer to the following resources:

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