Your backyard might soon become a source of income – as long as you’re OK with a new neighbour. The City of Victoria is looking at implementing a tiny house pilot project that would allow residents to rent their yards to tiny home dwellers.
In the draft strategic plan, council identified finding more affordable housing solutions as a high priority, and allowing garden suites and tiny homes as some of the options.
“I think it’s very realistic and of the easiest to implement,” said Victoria Mayor Lisa Helps. “It’s the most low-impact way to add affordable housing into all neighbourhoods in the city.”
Tiny houses are movable homes averaging out to 186 square feet which are often are used by environmental advocates, people who can’t afford high rents or compete with the low vacancy rate, or those who simply want a simpler life.
In the draft plan, rent for yard space would be capped to ensure affordability.
“It’s an easy win, especially if we cap rent at $500,” Helps said. “They’re movable and if it doesn’t work they can move on along .”
While the idea is in its very early stages, Helps said it would probably look like 100 owners across several Victoria neighbourhoods that currently allow garden suites, or on lots that already have secondary suites or duplexes.
More details would need to be ironed out to figure out technical aspects such as water, hydro and sewage hookups and charges.
“The initial investment requirements of property owners is relatively small,” said Marian McCoy, member of the Tiny House Advocates of Vancouver Island (THAVI), the group which initially proposed the pilot to council in early 2018. “At most, they would need to spend $10,000, so they’d see a return on their investment quite quick.”
McCoy added that should the pilot go forward, THAVI would be interested in offering workshops and resources for homeowners interested in making their lots accessible for a tiny house.
“It’s growing in popularity, it’s not just a trend,” McCoy said. “It’s a viable form of housing.”
The final draft of the strategic plan will come forward on Dec. 14, and be up for public discussion until the end of January.