The City of Ottawa makes room for backyard coach homes

Tiny houses, accessory dwelling units, coach homes; whatever you like to call them, we will soon see them popping up in Ottawa back yards.

Ottawa Coach House
© Lanefab Design Build

In the fall of 2015, the City of Ottawa conducted a public-consultation survey to gauge interest in a change of bylaws to allow secondary dwellings (Coach Houses or Tiny Houses) to be constructed on existing residential properties when space allows for it. The result was positive, with 60% of respondents in favour.

This is a part of a growing movement of urban densification and reduced home size that is happening across the country. Ottawa has long allowed secondary rental units in homes, but allowing the construction of backyard coach homes is new as of 2017.

Why build a coach house?

There are a myriad of reasons - in-law suites, rental properties, even getting your 30-something out of the house in a way that builds value for your whole family. A coach house could start as an in-law suite, turn into your kids’ first house, then maybe you switch with them as you're ready to downsize and they start to have families of their own.

Urban densification reduces urban sprawl and makes use of existing infrastructure and public transportation. Vancouver has been following this philosophy with their Laneway House program for many years, to great success. A denser urban core means reduced fuel consumption in commuting, less congestion, and more affordable living in cities.

Ottawa Coach House rules:

  • Secondary homes can be no greater than 40% of the main house size, and use no more than 40% of the yard space.
  • Single story homes only.
  • No rooftop patios are allowed.
  • Water and sewage for secondary homes must be shared with the primary home.
  • Coach homes cannot be built if the main home already has a rental unit.
Ottawa Coach House
Coach house © Lanefab Design Build

Coach house
Coach house © Lanefab Design Build

© Lanefab Design Build