Victoria Garden Suites

Victoria Garden Suites

Victoria garden suites are an additional detached living space on your property that is rented out for additional income every month. They are small units that resemble miniature apartments to be used by students, young professionals, recently single people, elderly family members, low-income individuals, and others who don’t require or can’t afford a regular home or apartment.

Garden suites go by many names depending on who you ask, including granny flat, carriage house, backyard apartment, coach house, and tiny house. The structure is always just a single story and is equipped with everything you need in an apartment including at least one bedroom, a kitchen, a bathroom, and a reasonable living space.

Thanks to a recent zoning change in 2018 in Victoria garden suites are becoming much more popular in many areas since they bring in significant income and have a variety of benefits. If you’re thinking of building a garden suite in your backyard, you’ll be interested in knowing the full list of these benefits, and you should probably also understand the requirements for a garden suite as well as take heed of our advice about how to get the most out of your garden suite.

Benefits of a Victoria Garden Suite

  1. Additional Income. The number one benefit of a Victoria garden suite is the additional income you get every month from your tenants. It depends on your location, but the rent from your garden suite could be $1000 or more! You can use this extra cash to supplement your income if you’re struggling to pay your monthly bills, you could use it to pay off your mortgage faster and build equity in your home more quickly, put it toward outstanding debts or other living expenses, or go on that dream vacation you’ve been planning for 7 years.
  2. Multi-Generational Living. Another great benefit to having a garden suite on your property is that you can give your elderly relatives a close place to live without compromising either of your privacy needs by having them stay in your home. Grandpa will love that he still has his independence and you’ll love that you can keep a closer eye on him as he ages, especially if there are medical concerns involved. This living arrangement is a win-win for both parties.
  3. Property Value. Adding a garden suite on your property is a fairly steep investment, but it is a worthwhile one. Your resale value and property value will skyrocket after your garden suite is built since it provides a secondary living space on your property. Between the rent you receive every month and the significant increase in your resale value, a garden suite is one of the best investments you can make for your future.
  4. Reduce Urban Sprawl. Urban sprawl is a hot-button topic right now with many people on either side of the debate. With the way our population continues to grow, there exists a valid concern out there that we’ll run out of space to build, kill off dozens if not hundreds of species living in our surroundings, and so on. We can do our part through building garden suites by creating a second living space on an already occupied piece of land. Plus, people living in your garden suite will have access to the city infrastructure that already exists, rather than forcing the city to build new infrastructure and facilities for new neighborhoods.
  5. Affordable Living. Many students, young professionals, and elderly persons struggle to find affordable living these days. By building a garden suite on your Victoria property, you provide a comfortable and affordable living space for struggling people in your community. Everyone deserves a place to call home, and you can help provide that to someone in your community.

Building Your Victoria Garden Suite

All of these positives sound pretty great, but building a garden suite in Victoria can be fairly costly. It is essentially a miniature home, so you have to budget for the land prep (which should be fairly straightforward), construction costs including labour and materials, and furnishing the suite.

All in, you could be looking at $90,000 or more to build the suite. However, you do have the option of using the equity you’ve built up in your home to pay for the construction of the suite, so you don’t necessarily need to pay out of pocket if you don’t want to. You’ll earn that money back quickly over the next few years from rent, and since your property value will increase so drastically, you’ll probably end up turning a profit if you ever sell your home.

When building your garden suite, there are a few zoning regulations to keep in mind:

  • The garden suite is permitted only if the primary unit is used as a single-family dwelling
  • There cannot already be a secondary suite on the property (basement suite, for example)
  • You can only build one garden suite per lot
  • You cannot have both an accessory building and a garden suite on your property
  • The garden suite must be located in the rear yard at least 2.4 metres away from the main home
  • The garden suite cannot take up more than 25% of your rear yard space
  • The garden suite cannot be more than 3.5 metres tall and can only be one story
  • The floor area of the garden suite can only be 37m2
  • The garden suite cannot have a roof deck

You should also follow these tips to make your garden suite more attractive to prospective tenants and more profitable in terms of monthly rent:

  • Include a full bathroom with bathtub
  • Install a microwave and dishwasher in the kitchen
  • Have two bedrooms rather than one
  • Include a small dining area if you can to improve functionality of the space
  • Make room for an off-street parking space if your zoning allows it
  • Use energy-efficient materials and green fixtures in the garden suite

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