Coach houses, also called laneway homes or carriage homes, are a popular real estate type in the Lower Mainland. These houses can be a great option for investors or for homeowners with extra space in their backyard.
West Vancouver has been exploring whether to allow coach houses on single family lots. The district says this “gentler form of densification” could add options to an area that is filled with single family homes and a few apartments, but little in between.
1. Passive Income
There are a number of ways to generate passive income, but it’s important to consider what types of activities are most appropriate for you. There are many different options available, including investing in property and other tangible assets; starting a business or providing start-up capital to new businesses; and renting out property or possessions you own.
The most obvious way to generate passive income is by investing in real estate. This can be a great way to get into the market without putting too much of your own money at risk, but it can also be a lot of work to maintain.
A less-expensive and more traditional method is to rent out your property or possessions, which can be a lucrative source of passive income. This can range from a spare room in your home to a vacation rental property.
Another popular method is to invest in a small business. This can be a great way to generate a little extra cash, and it can also be an excellent way to give back to the community.
Finally, one of the more recent ways to generate passive income is through the introduction of coach houses or laneway homes on residential properties in West Vancouver. These compact detached homes are typically built in the rear yard of a single-family house and can be a great place for older children, grandparents or frequent guests to stay when they visit.
To stimulate interest in these smaller dwellings, West Vancouver Council recently approved a series of amendments to the OCP and Zoning Bylaw that will make it easier and more cost effective for homeowners to build these small suites. These changes include a floor area bonus for smaller coach houses and a streamlined permitting process for legal secondary suites on basements.
West Vancouver is a unique place, a mixture of country town, beachy weekend getaway, and high-end custom homes. There are winding roads, one-way lanes, and beautiful homes with a unique vibe that makes for a wonderful place to live in.
Coach houses can be a great addition to any property, especially for older homeowners, or those looking for an alternative living option. They can also be a great source of rental income.
A community planner in West Vancouver, Stephen Mikicich, told the Daily News that there is a significant interest in this type of housing in the district and he would like to see it more widely implemented. He said allowing coach houses is a way to add variety and diversity to the housing stock in West Vancouver, which is already dominated by single-family homes and very few apartments.
In an effort to encourage more infill, West Vancouver council voted unanimously last month to support a staff request that examines if the district should allow strata titles for coach houses, or if it should offer some incentives to make them more attractive to potential renters.
The district’s official community plan and zoning bylaws have previously been amended to allow for detached secondary suites in the form of coach houses, but there hasn’t been much public interest. During the past year, only seven property owners have applied to build coach houses.
But after a lengthy consultation process, the district acted in November to allow for this form of development. The council opted to support an amendment to the Official Community Plan and Zoning Bylaws, which will allow a density bonus of 0.05 floor area ratio (FAR) for coach houses and legal secondary suites in the basement of the primary dwelling, and will streamline processing.
The changes are part of a wider process that began in 2018. A citizen working group of property owners, residents, and staff spent two years examining options to encourage infill housing in the area. The bylaws aims to preserve neighbourhood character while encouraging a gentle form of densification, according to staff. They are meant to discourage demolition of existing houses to build larger homes and limit the visual impact of new houses on neighbouring properties.
3. Easy to Heat and Cool
Coach houses (also known as laneway homes or carriage homes) are becoming increasingly popular in Vancouver. They are typically built in the backyards of existing homes and are a great way to add a home that is both unique and comfortable. They are a great solution for younger families looking for a starter home, or for retirees who want to downsize but still want some sort of a house in West Vancouver.
While the laneway house has been around for quite some time, it was only recently that West Vancouver council took the plunge to legalize them as part of their bylaws. The new laws include a density bonus for coach house buildings and allow legal secondary suites in the basement of primary homes as an incentive to encourage densification in the district.
Although the changes aren’t revolutionary, they do address some of the most important issues facing West Vancouver homeowners. They will encourage smaller, more affordable housing while preserving neighbourhood character and property owners’ equity. It’s a step in the right direction and it’s a good move for West Vancouver’s future. But it isn’t the end-all be-all for housing. We will have to see what happens when the incentives are implemented.
4. Easy to Rent
Coach Houses are an affordable option for first time buyers or young families. They can also be a great choice for retirees who want to keep their current home but need to supplement income with an additional rental unit.
West Vancouver has recently joined a growing number of municipalities allowing coach houses in their communities. The new program is based on public consultation and established guidelines.
The coach house program in West Vancouver is designed to encourage diversity and smaller homes while preserving neighbourhood character. It will also make it easier for homeowners to build a coach house and secondary suite together on the same lot.
As part of the program, owners who build a coach house will be given a floor area bonus of 0.05 FAR up to 500 sq ft if they have an existing legal secondary suite on the basement of their primary residence. The district also wants to ensure that there are incentives for owners to maintain existing onsite housing on their properties.
If you’re thinking of building a coach house or have one already on your property, be sure to research all of the details. You’ll need to register with the City of Vancouver, apply for an owner occupation licence and pay annual fees. You’ll also have to comply with any other restrictions. For example, you can’t rent out your coach house for less than 31 days. You’ll have to keep the house in good condition and provide a copy of your rent receipt for your records.
Among many other things, David A. Grantham is a contributing author to UmassExtension West Vancouver Blo. He is a renowned expert on real estate in BC.
Born in North Vancouver, Louisiana, Dr. Grantham grew up in Lower Lonsdale. He then went on to complete his business degree at the University British Columbia. As of this writing, Grantham has completed over 100 projects, including the development of a high rise building in Vancouver.
He is a husband, father, son, brother, and friend. He was a dedicated outdoorsman and enjoyed sports such as hunting, fishing, scuba diving, and snow skiing. His wife, Alison Grantham, and their two daughters survived him. He is survived by his wife Alison Martin Grantham and two daughters.