A Saanich neighbourhood is pictured on a clear fall day: Oct. 22, 2019 (CTV News)

Anyone looking to build a garden suite in their backyard in Saanich can now apply to do so.

Garden suites are defined as a detached dwelling behind a single-family house, which is the main use of the property.

Saanich says the approval of garden suites in the municipality will help improve rental housing availability in the region.

“As housing in our region becomes increasingly difficult to find or afford, looking for ways to increase options is key,” said Saanich Mayor Fred Haynes in a release Tuesday.

“Garden suites will allow our growing families and others to adapt to changing living arrangements, loved ones to age in place, and provide opportunities for new residents while gently increasing the amount and diversity of rental housing in the region,” he said.

The district says eligible properties can contain a garden suite only if the property owner lives in the main home or in the garden suite.

Garden suites may not be used for short-term rentals, such as an Airbnb or bed and breakfasts, according to Saanich.

Further details on where garden suites are permitted, and where to apply for construction, can be found on the District of Saanich’s website here

The municipality says that applications will generally take 1.5 to 3.5 months to be approved, before construction can begin.