Kitchener’s first legal tiny home shows possible solution to housing crisis

Photo by Darien Funk

Since the zoning bylaw amendment in April, Simon Wong has become the first property owner to receive a building permit for Kitchener’s first legal tiny home. 

After receiving his building permit in August, Wong began the construction of his tiny home in his backyard and is on track to complete the project by the end of the year.

In addition to renovating his main house into a duplex to be rented out, Wong is building a 500 square foot tiny home consisting of one bath, one bed, a full kitchen and a living room. 

It will give his family an affordable place to live while gaining extra income.

He expects the construction of more tiny homes could be a solution to the housing shortage across the KW area.

Wong’s tiny home falls under the permit category of Additional Dwelling Units that allows for the construction of tiny houses, laneway suites and backyard homes on properties zoned R-1 and R-7. However, they must meet the requirements under the zoning bylaw, including parking regulations and building regulations

The bylaw amendment will allow for up to 25,000 tiny homes to be built on properties across the city, adding more housing units to the market while creating an opportunity for property owners to benefit from making extra income.

Richard Kelly-Ruetx, a project manager for the city, said there had been a lot of interest from the community to build tiny homes and that he is receiving applications regularly. He and his staff are currently looking at nine city plans to construct tiny homes.

With the ongoing housing crisis being a prevalent issue throughout the pandemic, the construction of tiny homes could be an affordable solution. 

Currently, Kitchener has issued two permits and seven more are in the process of being approved.

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