A Toronto alleyway house that was built in a single day will provide affordable housing

Toronto resident Tarik Kadri knows what it’s like to live on a limited income and struggle to find housing.

“I grew up in city accommodation – we had two rooms for four people,” he says.

So when he bought a two-bedroom house in Riverside, he felt it was too big for him and his wife.

“It’s something much bigger than what I lived in before. And I’m very lucky to be able to live in a house like this,” he says.

The alley house arrived in pieces on a flatbed truck. Photo by Tarik Kadri

The possibility of building affordable housing on his property was therefore an easy decision. However, getting the permits for the lane house built over a new garage was not so easy.

There were some delays in getting permissions due to the home’s location near the Don Valley floodplain and proximity to a rail line, says Leith Moore, founder and developer of R-Hauz, the company Kadri used to build his driveway.

But once the permits were in place, the basic structure for the prefabricated driveway was erected in a day, Kadri explains. The building came in panels on a flatbed truck.

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The house was put together like a puzzle. Photo by Tarik Kadri

“They built like a puzzle as soon as they got here,” he says.

There have been delays due to supply chain issues, Moore adds.

“If the garage door had been there in time, everything would have been done,” he says.

It was a pilot alley house for R-Hauz, Moore said. R-Hauz offers two prefab lane houses. As a prefabricated house, it is pre-designed and built in a factory and then assembled on site.

“Can you imagine like your neighbor, you left in the morning and you saw these guys backing a truck into the lane, then you come home at night, that was home there?” Moore laughs.

The foundations have already been laid and the interior drywall and finishing are done later on site.

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The pieces were lowered into place with a crane. Photo by Tarik Kadri

The final home will have a garage below and a 350-square-foot studio on the upper level, Moore says.

Kadri has applied to the City of Toronto’s Affordable Laneway Suites pilot program, which offers a forgivable loan of up to $50,000 to eligible homeowners who furnish a laneway suite.

The loan will be canceled in 15 years from the date the first tenant occupies the laneway suite. The asking rent cannot exceed the average market rent in the City of Toronto.

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The interior of the house still needs to be finished with insulation and drywall. Photo by Karen Longwell

As a pilot project, the lane house cost less than $200,000 to build, Kadri says.

He expects to charge around $1,300 per month for the studio.

“In an expensive city like Toronto, I was able to kind of find an affordable solution – to meet my needs and also provide affordable housing.”

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