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
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.
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).
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.
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.
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