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Detached Garages, Sheds, and Accessory Structures


Accessory structures such as sheds, detached garages, air conditioners, etc. are regulated by the Zoning By-law and require some thought and planning before you build or locate one on your property.  The City of London categorizes these structures as "accessory" because they are "incidental and subordinate to the main use of the lot."  The main use of the lot is the residence.


The total lot coverage of all accessory buildings or structures on a lot shall not exceed 10% of the lot area in every residential zone.  This means that if you add up the floor area of all the accessory structure(s) on your property, you cannot cover more than 10% of your lot. Furthermore, because the accessory building coverage is included in the percentage of total coverage permitted on a lot, you need to know your lot dimensions, the "footprint" of your house, the dimensions of all existing and proposed accessory structures, and the coverage that your zone permits when making a decision about how large a new accessory structure will be. 

If you think you're approaching that 10% maximum for accessory structures, or the maximum zone coverage, you may need to get a "Real Property Report" showing all the buildings on the property, with dimensions, to ensure accuracy.  Uncovered or open swimming pools do not count for coverage calculation purposes.


The height of an accessory structure is measured from the average finished grade (ground) to the upper-most point of the building structure, and shall not exceed 4.0 metres (13.1 feet).  This is a good rule to go by when planning your new structure, however, you can increase the height up to 6.0 metres (19.7 feet) as long as you increase the distance from the property line by the same amount that you increase the height.  For example, if you want to build 1.5m taller (than the permitted 4m), then you need to move the building 1.5m farther from the property line than the minimum (more information below).


Accessory buildings and structures are only permitted in the "interior side yard" or "rear yard"; not the "front" or "exterior side yards".  They can be no closer than 0.6 metres (2.0 feet) to the side or rear lot lines. As discussed, where the height exceeds 4.0 metres (13.1 feet) the setback from the side and rear lot lines shall be increased by the difference in the height above 4.0 metres (13.1 feet), to a maximum of 6.0m (19.7ft).  "Yards" are defined at the end of Section 2 Definitions, of the Zoning By-law.

NOTE: Sheds and other accessory structures less than 10 square metres (108 square feet) are exempt from the setback requirements. However, no part of the accessory structure can overhang the property line and the structure must be entirely in the rear yard. See subsection 4.1.4(e)


Any structure greater than 10m2 (108 square feet) requires a building permit, so take that into consideration as you plan the size of your accessory structure.  Building permits are relatively inexpensive and very important, not only to ensure your structure is safe, but also when you look to sell your property.  More information about building permits is available online.


Sheds: General Rules and Regulations
Coverage The total coverage of all accessory structures cannot exceed 10% of your lot.
Height Should be no higher than 4.0m (13.1') but can extend up to 6.0m (19.7').
Size A simple shed under 10m2 (108 square feet) does not require a building permit.
Location Keep your accessory structure a minimum of 0.6m (2') off the property line.
Uses Do not use the accessory structure, garage, or shed as living space or to support a home based business.
In Doubt? Call the City of London to help answer any of your questions, or a surveyor to get a detailed plan of your property.
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  • Can I live above my garage or shed?

    Yes!  Recent changes to the Zoning By-law allow a portion of the garage, the entire garage, or even another building to be used as a dwelling unit.  A building permit is required, but for more information see the Zoning By-law, Section 4 (General Provisions), Part 4.37.

  • Can I run water to my garage, shed or accessory structure?

    Yes, but you will need a building or plumbing permit to do so.  It is important to check with an architectural plans examiner prior to planning your project.  Call 519-661-4555 for more information.

  • Can I run my business from my garage?

    No; The Zoning By-law Section 4.10 which outlines "Home Based Businesses" restricts them from using accessory structures, sheds and garages for anything, including storage, for the purpose of a home based business.

  • How many sheds (garages/accessory structures) may I have on my property?

    As many as you want, provided that you don't cover more than 10%  of your lot, nor exceed the overall coverage as described by your zone.

  • How does the City define Accessory Structure?

    Accessory is defined our Zoning By-law, "means a use, building or structure customarily incidental, subordinate and exclusively devoted to the main use and carried on with such main use, building or structure on the same lot."

    Structure "...means anything that is erected, built or constructed of parts joined together or any such erection fixed to or supported by or incorporated within the soil and/or any other structure..."

  • What things are considered accessory structures?

    Along with sheds, detached garages, shops, cabanas, pool houses, and "without limiting the generality of the foregoing, a heat pump, air exchanger, air conditioner or a swimming pool - either above or below ground - are structures" according to the by-law.

    Fences, as defined in the by-law, basketball standards, and flag poles are not considered structures.

  • Can I run electricity to my detached garage or shed?

    Yes; you can power your garage or shed, but in order to run lights, garage door openers, and provide electrical outlets you must get a permit from the Electrical Safety Authority.

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