top of page

Laneway Suites: Independent living, gently placed in low-rise Neighborhoods


Source: BuildSmart

Do you know anyone with adult children stuck at home or considering relocating just to get in the housing market? What about someone interested in a new home but fears parting with their beloved neighborhood? The truth is, in addition to their income generating potential, Laneway Suites create a solution that moves extra guests (e.g. an in-law, renter, or adult-child) from the bedroom or basement to a private suite in the backyard.


In summer 2019, Toronto Region Board of Trade analyzed data from CMHC, the Toronto Real Estate Board and Statistics Canada. They found that a $50,000 salary could only afford to rent a 1-bedroom unit in 3 of the 140 neighborhoods in Toronto. Fast forward to 2022 and residents require a $64,000 salary to afford the same forcing 1-in-5 renters to live in overcrowded, shared apartments. Developers address the housing gap by building taller and taller condos. Unfortunately, these towers radically change surrounding neighborhoods and often do not improve affordability – this is where Laneway Suites come in. 


A Laneway Suite is a self-contained residential unit located on the same lot as a detached house, semi-detached house or townhouse, and generally located in the rear yard next to a laneway. This housing form creates the opportunity to increase the living space / rental stock in established neighborhoods while maintaining neighborhood vernacular. Cities across North America are eagerly exploring the implementation of this housing form in an effort to unlock the potential of laneways and revitalize the city’s historically Victorian system of back alleys. 


Laneway suites are a type of “Accessory Dwelling Unit” (ADU), with the main difference being they are located on a property that abuts a laneway. No matter what we call them, the benefits in urban centers are undeniable. 



  • Less consumerism due to the efficient space

  • Help pay off your mortgage

  • Create independent living without buying more land

  • Increase your property value

  • Get the basement back


The by-laws surrounding laneway suites were created in collaboration with Toronto property owners, industry professionals, and advocacy groups. Requirements like setbacks, height limitations, and angular planes, are measures intended to maintain privacy within backyards. Factors such as lot / backyard coverage, landscaping, and bicycle parking are intended to promote responsible development while revitalizing established neighborhoods. Distances to fire hydrants, side separations adjacent to the main home, and unobstructed pathways are safety measures that enable access for emergency services.


Regardless of your intended use, the benefits of Laneway suites are proven in cities such as Vancouver. Have you ever thought of turning your backyard into an income generating asset? Do you love the idea of downsizing to a brand new home? Book a consultation with us to share your needs, questions / concerns, or simply gather more information.

bottom of page