Building your laneway house

A laneway house

A laneway house is a smaller, detached home located where the garage would normally go on a single-family lot.

Laneway houses contribute to the overall sustainability of the city. They give people more opportunities to live close to where they work, shop, and play, and they make the city's urban lanes more green, liveable, and safe.

Laneway housing also contributes to the amount of affordable rental housing available in the city.

New laneway house regulations approved

On July 24, Council approved amendments to the Zoning and Development Bylaw. These amendments simplify the laneway home regulations, make it easier and more cost effective to build laneway houses, and improve the livability of new laneway houses.

Key changes include:

  • Introducing an outright review process for 1.5 storey laneway houses
  • Changing the method of measuring height
  • Increasing maximum allowable heights
  • Relaxing dormer regulations to allowing greater design flexibility on the second floor
  • Introducing minimum room size requirements
  • Providing more flexibility for siting one-storey laneway houses


Council will consider the enactment of the amending bylaw at an upcoming meeting. Subject to enactment, permits for laneway houses will be issuable under the new regulations, and the Laneway Housing Guidelines will be repealed.

Can I build a laneway house on my property?

You can build a laneway house on any lot 32 feet or wider in any RS single family zone.

If you are not sure if your home is in an eligible zone, call 3-1-1, and we can tell you. Or you can look up your zoning online, using our simple map tool.

What kind of house can I build, and how do I apply to build one?

The City has a step-by-step how-to guide for anyone interested in building a laneway house.

The guide will answer your questions about laneway houses, and help you put your ideas into action.

The how-to guide includes:

  • Step-by-step help for the application process
  • Illustrations of regulations and guidelines
  • Sketches of laneway house floor plans and exteriors
  • Resources for designing and building your laneway house
  • Photos of completed laneway houses

Be sure to carefully review the guide before you start planning your laneway house.

Additional documents

Get help with the approval process

If you are interested in building a laneway house, email, phone, or visit the City's Development and Building Services Centre to learn more about regulations and the approval process, and find out if your lot is eligible.

Development and Building Services Centre
Main Floor, 515 W 10th Ave (at Cambie)

Phone: 604-873-7611


Laneway housing policies and background

Laneway housing plays an important role in achieving Council’s priorities to increase the supply of rental housing options across the city.

Policies and background