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Tiny houses could be in Kitchener backyards by 2020

Tiny houses may begin to pop up in Kitchener backyard's next year.
Tiny houses may begin to pop up in Kitchener backyard's next year. Dominic Valente/The Ann Arbor News via AP

In an effort to deal with the housing crunch in Kitchener, council endorsed an update to the city’s residential zoning on Monday night.

The residential zoning changes will offer a more flexible range of housing types such as coach houses, granny flats and tiny houses in backyards.

A report prepared by staff says the city has allowed duplexes since 1994 but the bylaw update allowing three units on a lot both attached and detached represents “a significant change in zoning approach.”

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The changes, which will come into effect next year, are intended to increase city density and to create more rental units for a city which is lacking those and shows no signs of letting up.

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A recent report by the CMHC said that despite the tri-cities seeing an increase of 20 per cent in the number of purpose built rentals over the past four years, demand has also kept pace in part due to an influx of international students at area universties and Conestoga College as well as a growing population.

The report says the vacancy rate within the three cities currently sits at 2.7 per cent, but as prices continue to rise the CMHC predicts an increase of 0.1 per cent in each of the next two years.

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The residential zoning changes in Kitchener, which will take effect next year, will allow homeowners to put a tiny house in their backyard for rental purposes. They would be 145 sq. ft. (a number which does not include a bathroom.)

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That does not mean Kitchener residents will see these tiny castles pop up in all of their neighbours’ backyards as there will be restrictions with regards to lot size and proximity to neighbouring houses as well as the need for adequate parking, water and sewer services.

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