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Toronto Garden Suites

The garden suite approval in Toronto is met with controversial opinion
Toronto Garden Suites

Adrian Trott

After a long wait, over four years to my knowledge, Toronto has approved the Garden Suites Official Plan Amendment and Zoning by-law Amendment! Qualifying properties will now be permitted to construct a separate, detached, second dwelling.

This is excellent news for the City. After a decade of discussion about rising rental costs and lack of affordable real estate in the City and the GTA –Milton Real Estate, as an example, has appreciated at unprecedented rates year over year; the end of rent rules on November 15th, 2018 combined with the approval of Garden Suites will provide more rental supply and offer the opportunity for homeowners to subsidize living expenses.

Benefits of a Garden Suite

Additional living: Garden suites are a fantastic way of better utilizing existing residential areas without changing a community’s look and dynamics.

Multi-Generational: We can’t count the number of clients we’re working with who want to move in with their elderly parents or grandparents. Whether for financial reasons, health and support, or simply wanting to be nearby, this will help you bring the family close to home.

Subsidizing living expenses: A garden suite should easily rent for $2,500+ in Toronto and most of the GTA. For some of you, that will cover your entire mortgage, or perhaps it will help you afford your dream home when it was otherwise unattainable.

How big can a garden suite be?

Garden suites will be permitted to be built to a footprint of up to 645 square feet. Utilizing the total size may be limited by permitted lot coverage and setback requirements.

Which properties qualify for garden suites?

While all residential zones qualify, setback, lot coverage and other requirements quickly eliminate a number of properties. You’re best to review the City’s website for more details.

Can a Garden Suite Have Two Dwellings?

No. A garden suite is a single dwelling and must be constructed as such. However, your primary residence may qualify for an accessory apartment or the conversion to a Duplex (or both?) This is excellent news because it offers the opportunity for multiple streams of revenue to REALLY offset some of those living expenses.

Despite controversial opinions on the matter, I firmly believe this is a solid WIN for everyone. As the province continues to push for ways to provide more options for homeowners and renters, it’s reasonable to think that garden suites will continue to be permitted in all municipalities at some point. Kudos to the ones who have made it possible so far!

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