B.C. launches secondary suite incentive program in hopes of creating more affordable housing

B.C. launches secondary suite incentive program in hopes of creating more affordable housing

The B.C. government is launching a three-year pilot program called the “Secondary Suite Incentive Program” with the goal of creating more affordable rental homes in the province.

The program will offer forgivable loans of up to 50 per cent of the total cost of renovations – up to a maximum of $40,000 – for successful applicants to add a secondary suite or accessory dwelling unit (garden suite, laneway house, carriage home, etc.) on the property of their primary residence.

The secondary suites must also be rented out at below-market rates for at least five years for the loans to be forgiven.

“There is an urgent need for more homes British Columbians can actually afford, and many homeowners want to be part of the solution to the housing crisis,” said B.C. Premier David Eby in a statement.

The premier added “this new incentive program makes it possible for homeowners to add a rental suite to their home, creating thousands of affordable rentals. This is a win for homeowners, a win for renters and a win for communities throughout our province.”

According to the press release, approximately 1,000 homeowners each year will receive forgivable loans, which will add 3,000 new rental units at below-market rates.

More information about eligibility for the loans, which includes a cap on yearly income and the assessed value of each property where a secondary suite will be built, and information on applying for the loans can be found on BC Housing’s secondary suite website.

“Affordable, attainable and available rentals in our communities, including here in Victoria, are essential,” said Grace Lore, MLA for Victoria-Beacon Hill. “Creative solutions like the Secondary Suite Incentive Program will create and support investments in the homes that people need.”

The program is part of the Homes for People action plan and a $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government. Since 2017, the province claims it has delivered, or is in the process of delivering, nearly 78,000 homes.

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