Suite Perks: B.C.'s Secondary Suite Incentive Program

In April 2024 the B.C. Government will be introducing the Secondary Suite Incentive Program in an effort to create more affordable housing in the province. This programs offers homeowners up to $40,000 towards building a rental suite in their property. Here are the details you need to know:

Who is eligible?
• Canadian citizens or permanent residents
• Registered owner(s) of the property who live in their property as their primary residence and have a combined gross annual income of less than $209,420 (in the previous tax year)

What properties qualify?
• Located within one of the 161 incorporated municipalities in B.C.
• Have a BC Assessment value below the homeowner grant threshold ($2.125 million in 2023)

What defines a Secondary Suite?
• A new legal and self-contained unit with a kitchen and full bathroom (improvements to existing rental units are not eligible)
• Laneway homes/ garden suites are eligible
• If the homeowner has received municipal building permits on or after April 1, 2023

What costs are covered?
• Architectural and design fees
• Structural modification
• Electrical work
• Fixtures
• Appliances (50% of actual cost to a maximum of $2,500)
• Building and trade permit fees
• Costs to obtain certificates, drawings and specifications
• Materials related to the construction
• Contractor labour

Here is how the Program works:
1. Homeowners who qualify will receive a forgivable loan of up to 50% of the cost of renovations, up to $40,000 and a minimum or $20,000.
2. Once the suite is done, the loan is provided.
3. The homeowner must continue to live in the home and the suite must be rented out below market rates for at least 5 years. The rates are determined by B.C. Housing. For Vancouver area, these rates are $1500 for a studio/one bedroom, $1894 for a two bedroom and $2200 for a three bedroom.
4. Once the 5 year mark is up, there is no limit for the rent of new tenants. With current tenants, homeowners must stick to the maximum rent increments, as set by the provincial government.
5. If the terms of the program are honoured, the loan is wiped clear over five years.
6. If life changes and the terms cannot be met, the outstanding loan amount plus any interest must be repaid.

Applications will be accepted starting in April 2024 and will be approved on a first come, first served basis, until the annual funding is used up. Start looking into this now to determine if you are eligible and apply for the necessary permits with your municipality.

Here is the link to: Secondary Suite Incentive Program