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Listing information last updated on June 26, 2017

Coach House

Otherwise known as rearyard infill, coach houses are an older version of laneway houses that have been around for many years. Although they can look similar from the outside, they are administered by a different set of bylaws.

Vancouver homeowners and developers build them behind the main houses with entrances at the rear lane. Coach houses are a great way to add value to your property without purchasing a new piece of land.

 

What is a Coach House?

A coach house is a detached structure in the rear of a main house. These ancillary buildings have their own entrances and are complete houses on their own, similar to a duplex. They can be strata-titled and are saleable separate from the main property, making them more valuable than a simple laneway house. Because they are “ground-oriented” with their own entrances, their usage is flexible: they can be rented out to relatives or tenants or can be sold off as part of the strata complex.     

 

Why build a Coach House / Rearyard Infill Home?

Although coach houses add value to a property and can be rented out, the most common reason for building a detached house in the rear is to re-sell it. Other benefits include:

 

  • No sharing walls: Unlike townhouses, coach houses are detached, so there are no shared walls with other buildings and residents.
  • A real home: They feel like full homes, rather than apartments or townhouses.
  • Bright and fresh: Because there are no shared walls, the interior often has more natural light and windows that open to the fresh air.
  • Sell when you’re ready: Strata-titling allows owners the flexibility to sell the coach house on their own schedule, renting it out until the market is good or their home situation is right.
  • Max out square footage: For those with older main houses, your property may be eligible for the Heritage Revitalization Agreement. This allows you to max out the buildable square footage limits set by the city.
  • What’s your zone? Many two-family lots (RT zoned) in Vancouver are eligible for infill houses. This colour zoning map will determine which zone your property is in.   

 

Below is a sample lot floor plan for a coach house.

 

What are the Requirements Needed to Build a Coach House?

There are such a variety of ways that coach houses can be configured. Most are built on larger lots (50 x 122), but it’s still possible to have a small infill on a 33 x 122 lot. Here are the basic features:

  • 16 foot yard
  • A maximum height restriction of 2.5 storeys / 35 feet
  • Parking at grade is accessible from the lane or the courtyard

 

How Big are Coach Houses?

The unit size and maximumFSR(Floor Space Ratio) varies depending on the size of the site and the zoning. For example:

  • On an RT-6 lot of 50 x 122 with an existing house built on it, you could tear down the original home and replace it with 3 units, while also building a coach house in the rear with parking. TheFSRwould be .75 for a total of 4,950 square feet.
  • On an RT-10 lot of 33 x 122 with an existing older building and an empty 33 x 122 lot beside it, the original house could be restored and 2 separate duplexes built on the combined lots. TheFSRis now .8, allowing for more square footage.

 

There are many other scenarios that can be used with coach houses. If you have questions about your specific property, you can email or call me directly. I look forward to speaking with you about your project.