In December, 2019 the City of Toronto began offering a standard agreement for homeowners to share a portion of a neighbouring property in order to satisfy the laneway suite’s emergency access requirements. In the case where emergency access can not be provided via the laneway, the municipality requires you to provide via a side yard walkway measuring at least 2.1m high and 0.9m wide extending from the front yard to the rear. Prior to the agreement, this meant that lots with limited side yard setbacks would not be eligible to construct a laneway suite.
Appropriately dubbed the “Limiting Distance Agreement” (or LDA), this document allows the 0.9m wide access route to span over your property line, reserving the space between two neighbouring buildings as a mutual access route to the laneway suite.
The agreement is required to be signed by you, your neighbour, and the city solicitor. It is registered on title for both properties similar to a conventional right-of-way or easement. An application for the LDA can be submitted at any time in the approvals process. We typically recommend making this a first step in your process to ensure compliance during future permit reviews.
The LDA process will follow five simple steps:
- The homeowner’s legal representative will complete and submit a draft Limiting Distance Agreement to the city solicitor with the all parties’ information included. Your architect or designer will be responsible for providing a site plan outlining the subject area, which will be included as a “Schedule C” in the agreement.
- The city solicitor and building services department will review the draft agreement and site plan provided.
- Once confirmed, the property owners will be contacted to execute the Limiting distance agreement with their legal representative. Once executed, the agreement is sent back to the city solicitor.
- The city solicitor will provide the fully executed LDA back to the homeowner and their legal representative, whom will then be responsible for:
- Registration of the agreement on title
- Confirming registration with the City Solicitor; and,
- Providing a title opinion satisfactory to the City Solicitor.
- Prior to the execution of an LDA, the applicable city solicitor fees must be paid.
- Once registered and a building permit is approved, the agreement will be attached to the permit prior to its issuance.
A complete overview of the LDA is available on the municipality’s website here. Overall, the LDA will be a relatively simple and straightforward process tailored to homeowners. The intent stays true to the fundamental purpose of the laneway suites by-laws – to make it easy and affordable for the average Torontonian.
To find out if your property qualifies or for more information on the LDA process, send us your address and/or survey to firstname.lastname@example.org.