The cities of Kitchener and Guelph are putting forth proposition for new bylaws to permit the construction of fourplexes on residential land. As things stand in Kitchener, only three units are presently allowed on a residential lot.
City staff have recently predicted an increase in population by 52 per cent by 2051. In anticipation of such growth, the mayor is keen to address the housing situation head-on, aiming to maximize the usability of existing properties, especially single-family homes.
Kitchener’s Mayor, Berry Vrbanovic, expressed his intentions clearly: “Our goal is to maintain a welcoming, inviting community for everyone, offering a full spectrum of housing options encompassing everything from rentals to ownership.”
Recent times have seen a rise in enquiries to the local contracting group, Westmount Craftsmen, from individuals looking to add additional units to their homes. Collin Beaumont, CEO of the group, says, “Many are keen to explore the financial benefits given the current rental rates, though most are just unsure where to begin.”
Real estate agents have indicated that this potential shift to fourplexes could transform the housing market. Realtor Tony Johal opined, “Properties with larger frontage, which can accommodate these multi-units, are likely to command greater value than the existing edifices on the land.”
Although the bylaw seems poised to benefit investors, mortgage agent Kyle Ford believes families too could gain. “We might see families utilizing this to enable elderly parents or grandparents to remain in their homes longer,” stated Ford.
For the time being, the Mayor has observed a relatively low level of interest. “We’ve seen some response, but it’s been modest. Around four or five applications were filed in 2021, with fewer than 30 more recently in 2023,” he noted.
Mayor Vrbanovic is scheduled to present the proposal to the council. If approved, the plan will move onto the planning phase where specific details like infrastructure requirements will be ironed out. There will also be an opportunity for the public to provide input.
Meanwhile, the mayor of Guelph is set to propose a similar bylaw later this week. Mayor Cam Guthrie expressed optimism on social media about the council’s acceptance of this motion.