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What are Ancillary Secondary Dwellings Units?

Updated: Dec 21, 2020

An ancillary secondary dwelling is a unit that is separate from the main house which provides a secondary living accommodation intended for persons living together.




They contain a bedroom, kitchen, and bathroom space. Common terms that fall under this category are Backyard homes, Garden suites, Coach houses, Granny flats, and Laneway suites. These dwellings are located at the rear of a residential lot and often have a small footprint and require services just as the main home would such as electricity, water, and sewer. In Toronto, some of these services come from the main home and others like mail delivery and garbage disposal are provided from the main street as opposed to the laneway.


These units are gaining popularity in major Canadian cities like Vancouver and Ottawa as well as United States cities such as Seattle, Portland, and Minneapolis. The City of Toronto is continuously exploring innovative ways to support new and affordable forms of housing that increase the supply. Toronto homeowners are becoming more aware of the opportunities that exist for their unused backyards. These units have the ability to support the lifecycle of homeowners from the time they need additional income, to when they need extra space for guests, when children desire an independent living space, when they want to keep aging relatives close to them, and when they want to sell their home for an increased value.



Importance


Functional. The laneways in Toronto provide an opportunity for neighborhood growth controlled by homeowners as opposed to developers. Backyard spaces have much more potential than storage and recreation, especially in an economy that has been rattled by COVID-19 throughout 2020. Homeowners have the power to create safe and affordable spaces for Toronto residents to enjoy.


Diverse. Low-rise intensification provides a unique opportunity for affordable housing as high rise condominiums have flooded the city forcing many decent and hard working Torontonians further away. These dwelling units can support culturally and economically diverse communities which is what makes Toronto one of the most favored cities in Canada.


Livable. Residents should have a fair opportunity to lay roots, make lasting memories, and enjoy their neighbourhood as the milestones of life are achieved. Walkable neighborhoods flourishing with life enhance communities, support transit developments, and allow residents to live near jobs and other services. Dwellings units support these lifestyles by providing sustainable lifecycles.

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