As part of a city of Vancouver initiative to increase affordable housing in Vancouver and make it more accessible, they began allowing laneway homes in 2009. Since then, over one thousand laneway house permits have been issued by the city since 2009. At a record rate, 1,049 laneway house permits have been issued to Vancouver residents and property owners. In 2009 there were only 18 permits issued but that number quickly climbed to more than 350 by 2012.
Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson said in a news release that Vancouver’s successful laneway housing program is creating more affordable and sustainable housing options while contributing significant new rental housing in single-family neighbourhoods whether for students, aging family members, or young people looking to live close to home or find new job opportunities.
According to one laneway home owner, the benefits go beyond just affordable housing; they will bring the community together and often spark new friendships with tenants and neighbours. In 2010 the home owners original plan was to rent out downtown furnished apartments for rent Vancouver inorder to earn extra income but as soon as they heard about laneway housing, the owners new that renting a laneway home would not only be more manageable since its right in their backyard but it would also be a much more efficient alternative to furnished apartments Vancouver. It cost $225,000 and took 6 months to build the home and were able to immediately rent out the new home for $1500 monthly.
Permits for laneway housing is part of the city’s plan to revamp and solve Vancouver’s lack of affordable housing available. Some housing projects by the city include speeding up the amount of time that it takes to issue a permit for secondary suites, approving Vancouver’s first co-housing project and opening a rent bank which assists renters in short-term financial difficulties as well as to create more affordable rental apartments in south and east Vancouver. Below is an update by the city of Vancouver in March 2010 about laneway housing in the city as it was in it’s infancy; it has since surged in popularity.
Credit: Monitoring update by city of Vancouver