Laneway Homes

A small detached house built on the property of another house

Laneway homes are smaller homes built in the backyard of a main house that faces the lane or road that runs behind the property. Laneway homes can provide additional space for families, or serve as a new source of rental housing—while also providing income for the homeowner.

While laneway homes are not currently permitted in Burnaby, the City is working to introduce laneway housing in a way that works for our whole community. Our process began with the Mayor's Task Force on Community Housing in 2019, which recommended the City "develop a plan for introducing new housing forms and family-oriented housing in a variety of neighbourhoods." In December 2021, the City adopted HOME: Burnaby's Housing and Homelessness Strategy, which calls for the City to develop an infill housing program, which creates room for “missing middle” housing types like laneway homes, suites in duplexes, rowhouses, and triplexes. The first phase of our implementation includes permitting laneway homes.

Now that the HOME strategy has been adopted, we’ve begun working on introducing laneway homes as part of a new Housing Choices program. The first phase of this program will focus on introducing laneway homes along with secondary suites in semi-detached homes to Burnaby’s single and two-family neighbourhoods. 

Our schedule and process to introduce laneway homes was approved by Council in February 2022. Council also requested that we explore other ways of permitting 3 units on a single-family lot, or 4 units on a two family lot. 

Our laneway homes program will include:

  • Modelling different types and sizes of laneway homes on different Burnaby lot types to help us in developing the right requirements for setbacks, height limits, and other regulations.
  • Preparing architectural design examples and guidelines for public review.
  • Reviewing off-street parking regulations and the potential capacity of neighbourhoods to accommodate additional on-street parking demand.
  • Reviewing our capacity for water and sanitary servicing and garbage/recycling services, and preparing recommendations for any service changes, upgrades and fee schedules.
  • Reviewing existing and future lane infrastructure as it relates to laneway homes, identifying guidelines for laneway design, development and use.
  • Reviewing third-party infrastructure requirements and preparing guidelines for postal delivery, emergency services and electrical and natural gas services.

We understand laneway housing will be a significant change for Burnaby’s neighbourhoods, and we’ll be inviting you to make your voice heard and provide feedback before our proposals are finalized. There are also a number of technical requirements that we need to work through.

After we’ve worked through the technical requirements and have had a chance to listen and incorporate your feedback we’ll present the updated laneway homes program to Council. Once we’ve obtained their approval, residents will be able to begin the process of building a laneway home. 

Yes! Your feedback is an important part of our process. We will be hosting opportunities for you to learn about our proposals and provide input throughout 2022.

Public workshops will be taking place in June and are now open for registration. Visit burnaby.ca/housingchoices to learn more. 

If you would like to receive updates on laneway homes in Burnaby, please join our mailing list below.

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