Building a Laneway House: Basics

Real Estate Agent with REMAX CREST REALTY WESTSIDE v60121

A few of my clients are looking to build new homes with intelligent secondary (or sometimes TWO secondary) suites.  Laneway zoning and housing lots are becoming the next big thing, so I thought I would share the basics with links back to some useful sources.

Laneway houses are an excellent way to increase the diversity of rental units in single family neighbourhoods, by providing: 


  • An additional opportunity beyond owning a house or renting a basement suite
  • More opportunity to live in detached and ground-oriented rental housing
  • Additional housing that preserves the existing streetscape and adds character, vibrancy, and security to the lane
  • Housing for diverse groups of people, including seniors ready to downsize, adult children who want to live independently, and renters who want to live in detached housing
  • More opportunities for people to live in the city, close to their jobs, services, and frequent transit 

What is a laneway house?


  • A laneway house is defined by the City of Vancouver as “a small house at the rear of a lot near the lane and may include both a dwelling unit and parking/accessory uses”.
  • Laneway houses are permitted as a secondary suit in the main house, and can be used by family or rented.
  • Laneway houses are permitted in Vancouver in RS-1 and RS-5 single family zones.
  • Visit for more information about lane houses.

Why build a laneway house?

  • Laneway houses provide an affordable housing solution in single family residential areas.
  • Laneway houses are a sustainable solution to increasing density without spoiling the character of single family home neighbourhoods.
  • Laneway houses can be excellent income generators if used as a rental unit, and can add value to your property if you decide to sell.
  • Laneway houses are adaptable and can be used for aging parents and other family members, caregivers or adult children, as well as home owners who want to downsize.

How to build a laneway house?

Read Get Started for full details of building your own laneway house.


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