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Blog by Joe Campbell | July 13th, 2015

A coach house is a detached compact home, usually built in the rear yard of a single-family residential lot.

Sometimes called a laneway house or carriage home, a coach house can provide you with additional rental income, while increasing the diversity of rental housing choices in single family neighbourhoods.

A coach house can't be sold separately from the main house or placed under strata title.


Is my property eligible for a coach house?

To be eligible to build a coach house in the

DISTRICT OF NORTH VANCOUVER, your single family lot must satisfy these general requirements:

  • Your lot must be over 929 m2 (10,000 square feet) — or at least 15m (50 feet) wide on a corner lot, or with access to an open lane
  • You cannot have an existing secondary suite, either attached or detached
  • The combined size of your principal house and coach house can't exceed the allowed maximum density for your zone 
  • The proposal must meet the Development Permit Area Policy of Schedule B in the OCP

CITY OF NORTH VANCOUVER, your single family lot must satisfy these general requirements:
  • Gross Floor Area (GFA) available on the lot: the total GFA may not exceed the lesser of 0.5 x lot area or 0.3 x lot area +1,000 sq.ft. inclusive of the proposed coach house.
  • Minimum frontage width of 33 feet;
  • Space available to accommodate on-site parking;
  • Principle Dwelling does not already have a Secondary Suite.

DISTRICT OF WEST VANCOUVER, your single family lot must satisfy these general requirements:
  • a maximum of one per lot
  • not permitted in conjunction with a secondary suite on the same lot, (i.e. one or the other type of suite, but not both)
  • not permitted in conjunction with a duplex
  • required to be set back from the rear property line as follows:
    • minimum 1.8 metres to the rear building wall; and
    • minimum 1.2 metres for any portion of the building containing an enclosed garage
  • must be sited a minimum distance of 4.9 metres away from the principal dwelling
  • maximum of two storeys with maximum building heights as follows:
    • 4.57 metres (one storey)
    • or 6.4 metres (two storeys)
  • For two-story units, the maximum floor area of the upper storey must not exceed 60% of the main floor area
  • maximum floor area cannot exceed:10% of lot area, OR 111.5 square metres, whichever is less
  • the registered owner of the property must occupy either the main dwelling or the detached secondary suite as his or her principle residence
  • property containing a detached secondary suite may not be used for lodgers, a personal care facility, a child care facility, or a bed and breakfast
  • one off-street vehicle parking space must be provided exclusively for the use of the detached secondary suite
  • the detached secondary suite must not be subdivided from the principal dwelling unit under the Land Title Act or the Strata Property Act

Not all single family home sites are suitable for coach house development. Be sure to confirm with your Municipality that your property qualifies before you proceed.

Interested in building a coach house? Learn more

Visit your municipalities complete Coach House web page to get complete details, including:

Download the DISTRICT OF NORTH VANCOUVER'S Coach House How-to Guide

Visit the CITY OF NORTH VANCOUVER'S Coach House How-to Page

Visit the DISTRICT OF WEST VANCOUVER'S Coach House How-to Page