As the cost of living continues to rise here in Vancouver, you’re probably looking for new ways to generate income and as a homeowner. If you’ve every thought about renting out a portion of your home or building a laneway house/garden suite to rent out, this is your sign! The BC government is coming out with a $40,000 forgivable loan (you don’t need to repay it if the terms are followed) that you can use towards renting out your home and generating extra income.

If you’re a Vancouver homeowner looking to transform your basement into a rental suite while contributing to the city’s affordable housing initiative, good news awaits you! The Secondary Suite Incentive Program, introduced by the Government of British Columbia, offers a golden opportunity to receive up to $40,000 towards building or renovating a new affordable rental suite in your home.

In this blog, we’ll talk about the program, what it means for you as a homeowner on the North Shore in Vancouver, and the steps to apply so that you can have the proper tools to take advantage of this program.

 

Understanding the Program

The Secondary Suite Incentive Program is designed to assist homeowners in creating new affordable rental housing in their communities. Here’s how it works:

  • Financial Support: Eligible homeowners can receive a forgivable loan of up to 50% of the renovation costs, with a maximum cap of $40,000.
  • Forgivable Loan: The loan becomes forgivable if the homeowner continues to reside in the home, and the newly created suite is rented out below market rates for at least five years.
  • Application Period (when it starts): Applications for the program will open in April 2024, with at least 3,000 homeowners expected to benefit over three years.

the Secondary Suite Incentive Program

 

What this means for you

 

Financial Boost for Your Renovation Dreams

One of the most significant benefits of the program is the financial support it offers. With the potential to receive up to $40,000 in forgivable loans, homeowners can alleviate a substantial portion of the financial burden associated with basement renovations. If you are a homeowner on the North Shore looking to rent out your basement, the injection of funds can turn what might have been a long-term project into an achievable reality for you.

 

Increased Property Value

Converting your basement into a legal, self-contained unit not only meets the eligibility criteria for the program but also adds significant value to your property. Secondary suites are attractive to potential buyers or renters, providing a versatile living space that can be used for various purposes. This, in turn, can boost the overall value of your home.

 

Long-Term Financial Benefits

While the forgivable loan is a significant upfront benefit, the long-term financial advantages of having a rentable secondary suite shouldn’t be overlooked. Renting out the suite at an affordable market rate for at least five years allows you to recoup your investment gradually. Additionally, the increased rental income can contribute to your overall financial stability as a homeowner!

The Secondary Suite Incentive Program

Eligibility Criteria

 

To determine if you qualify for this fantastic opportunity, consider the following criteria:

 

Homeowners

  • Registered owner(s) of the property.
  • Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
  • Primary residence in the property.
  • Combined gross annual income of homeowners on the title below $209,420.

 

Properties

 

  • Located within one of the 161 incorporated municipalities in British Columbia (North Van, West Van, and Metro Vancouver included)
  • BC Assessment value below the homeowner grant threshold ($2.125 million in 2023).

 

Secondary Suite

 

  • New legal self-contained unit with a kitchen and full bathroom.
  • Laneway homes/garden suites are eligible.
  • Received municipal building permits on or after April 1, 2023.

 

Eligible Costs

 

The rebate covers various costs directly related to the creation of the new secondary suite, including architectural and design fees, structural modifications, electrical work, and more. However, certain costs, such as extensions, homeowner labour, and landscaping, are not eligible.

 

How to Apply

 

Follow these steps to take advantage of the Secondary Suite Incentive Program:

  • Check Eligibility: Visit bchousing.org/secondary-suite to determine if you meet the eligibility criteria.
  • Plan Your Project: Confirm zoning regulations with your municipality, arrange contractors and financing, and apply for a building permit.
  • Gather Documents: When applications open in April 2024, submit your online application with proof of residence, income, and municipal building permit.
  • Receive Approval and Construct: Once approved, proceed with the construction of your secondary suite.
  • Submit Occupancy Permit: After construction, obtain an occupancy permit from your municipality and submit it with proof of construction costs to receive the loan.
  • Rent Out Suite: Follow program requirements, including renting out the suite at an affordable market rent. The loan will be forgiven at 20% per year over five years.

 

Conclusion

 

The Secondary Suite Incentive Program presents a unique opportunity for Vancouver homeowners to contribute to affordable housing while enhancing the value of their property. Don’t miss out on this chance to transform your basement into a valuable asset and make a positive impact on your community.

Start planning your renovation project today and be prepared to apply when the program opens in April 2024! Affordable housing begins at home, and your contribution can make a significant difference in the lives of others and our community.

 

Do you have a potential secondary rental suite project?

 

Contact us today with your basement or full home renovation project, and we’ll make sure you have the tools you need to apply for the Secondary Suite Incentive Program. Powell Contracting is a Vancouver general contractor with a team of dedicated specialists who will make sure your dream space gets brought to reality, seamlessly. Contact us today for your free quote!

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Sources used for this article:

https://www.bchousing.org/housing-assistance/secondary-suite