Tiny houses in Vancouver

10866742_10204843906075253_1928781705_nI’m sure that you have noticed these adorable little houses built on top or instead of garages in residential single family homes units. These tiny houses are a part of Vancouver’s sustainable living plan, and they are called laneway homes, AKA granny flats, AKA Fonzie suites. I have a friend whose parents have built one for additional rental income, and another group of friends who occupy one.

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A laneway home is an excellent opportunity to have the illusion of privacy of an independent living. The laneway house my friends live in is a two-storey building, with 1 bedroom, a full washroom with a shower, a living area, a full-sized kitchen and a half-bedroom on the first floor, and two full bedrooms (one even has a balcony), and a washroom on the second floor.

Laneway homes became legal in 2009, and since then, 1500+ permits were issued. Not everyone can build one on their property though – you can build a laneway house if you have a lot 32 feet or wider in any RS single family zone. The City has a step-by-step how-to guide for anyone interested in building a laneway house (and additional regulations). The guide will answer your questions about laneway houses, and help you put your ideas into action.

The rent for a laneway house is generally within $1200-$1600 per month, plus or minus a few hundred dollars for smaller or larger ones, or depending on the area, which is comparable to the rental price of a 1-bedroom suite in downtown area.

My only problem with laneway homes is that given that they are in the residential blocks, and most of the time the only view you get is of you neighbour’s garage or your landlord’s backyard. There are exceptions to this though – my friends have their balcony overlooking the commercial building and a good portion of Kingsway street.

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