Applications will be accepted starting April 2024 - get ready to apply!
What is the Secondary Suite Incentive Program?
The Secondary Suite Incentive Program will help homeowners create affordable housing in their communities. The program will provide money to help homeowners create a new secondary suite on their property to be rented out for below market value.
Homeowners who qualify will receive up to 50% of the cost of renovations, up to a maximum of $40,000. The program will provide a rebate in the form of a forgivable loan—a loan that does not need to be repaid if the homeowner follows the terms of the program.
For the loan to be forgiven, the new unit must be located on the same property where the homeowner lives and must be rented out at below market rates, set by BC Housing, for at least five years.
Secondary Suite Incentive Program (SSIP) Resources
- Secondary Suite Factsheet - English
- Secondary Suite Factsheet - Filipino
- Secondary Suite Factsheet - French
- Secondary Suite Factsheet - Korean
- Secondary Suite Factsheet - Persian
- Secondary Suite Factsheet - Punjabi
- Secondary Suite Factsheet - Simplified Chinese
- Secondary Suite Factsheet - Traditional Chinese
Learn more general information about adding a suite to your home in the Province of British Columbia's Home Suite Home Guide.
Are you eligible?
The following summarizes the key elements of homeowner and property eligibility for the Secondary Suite Incentive Program.
- Registered owner(s) of the property
- Canadian citizens or permanent residents
- Live in the property as their primary home
- Combined gross annual income of all homeowners on title of less than $209,420 (in the previous tax year)
- A new legal self-contained unit with a kitchen and full bathroom (improvements to existing rental units are not eligible)
- Laneway homes/garden suite are eligible
- Received municipal building permits on or after April 1, 2023
Applications will be approved on a first come, first served basis until annual funding is used up.
Frequently Asked Questions
When can I apply?
The program will open to applications in April 2024. Applications will be approved on a first come, first served basis until annual funding is used up. We encourage you to review the eligibility criteria above. You can then take steps to gather information for your application.
How do I know if I qualify and how will I get approval?
When applications open, successful applicants will receive confirmation from BC Housing with their approval and requirements for next steps including additional documentation that will be required once an occupancy permit is issued in order to receive the rebate.
What are the terms of the forgivable loan?
The rebate amount and BC Housing’s legal costs of $2,000 will be registered on title for 5 years as a forgivable loan.
The forgivable loan, inclusive of BC Housing’s legal costs, will be forgiven at 20% each year (i.e., up to $8,400/year, plus all accrued interest) that all program requirements are met:
- The property continues to be the Principal Residence of the owner(s)
- The secondary suite was rented for at least 10 months in the preceding year and the tenancy is under an agreement that complies with the Residential Tenancy Act (RTA) on a month-to-month or minimum 1 year fixed term tenancy
- The rent for the secondary suite is at or below the Rent Affordability Limits established by BC Housing annually
- The tenant is not an immediate family member (spouse, child, parent or sibling) of the homeowner(s)
Below is an example of how the forgivable loan would work based on a homeowner who receives the full $40,000 rebate:
Timeline Example Loan remaining Upon occupancy and approval Homeowner recieves the $40,000 rebate and a forgivable loan for the amount of the rebate plus $2,000 for BC Housing’s legal fees will be registered on title of the property $42,000 After Year 1 After first complete year of renting at lower than market rent, 20% ($8,400 in this example) is forgiven $33,600 After year 2 After second complete year, another 20% is forgiven $25,200 After year 3 After third complete year, another 20% is forgiven $16,800 After year 4 After fourth complete year, another 20% is forgiven $8,400 After year 5 After fifth complete year, the final 20% is forgiven and BC Housing will discharge the loan $0
Is there interest on the loan and do any payments need to be made?
Interest will accrue based on the current prime rate of interest charged by the Royal Bank of Canada, plus 2.00%.
The Principal Amount will be forgiven at a rate of 20% every year. This will start on the first anniversary of the date of receiving the Loan funds from BC Housing, subject the homeowner complying with all of the terms and conditions of SSIP.
If the Principal Amount is forgiven at 20% each year, any interest accrued to the date of such forgiveness will also be forgiven.
There are no payments required on either the principal or interest during the forgiveness period if the homeowner complies with the terms and conditions of the SSIP loan. In the event the homeowner does not comply with all the terms and conditions, the loan and any interest that has accrued, will become payable on demand to BC Housing.
What are the BC Housing legal fees?
The amount secured by the SSIP mortgage will be the amount of the rebate provided plus $2,000 to cover BC Housing’s legal fees. This includes disbursements and taxes related to the preparation and later discharge of the mortgage once fully forgiven.
How many applications will be approved?
As a pilot program, the rebate will be available to at least 3,000 homeowners over three years. Applications will be approved on a first come, first served basis until annual funding is used up, beginning in April 2024.
Funding in the first year is $40 million, enough for 1,000 applications at the maximum loan of $40,000.
Where can I find more information on the application process?
We encourage you to review the eligibility criteria and take steps to gather information for your application.
Online applications will open in April 2024.
What costs are eligible for the rebate?
Costs to be covered by the rebate must be directly related to the creation of the secondary suite and include:
- Architectural and design fees
- Structural modification
- Electrical work
- Appliances (50% of actual cost to a maximum of $2,500)
- Building and trade permit fees
- Costs to obtain certificates, drawings and specifications directly related to eligible scope of work
- Materials related to the approved construction
- Contractor labour (not including work done by Applicant or any member of the Household)
- PST and GST
The following costs will not be eligible:
- Extensions, conversions, repair or replacement of items for the homeowners
- Labour costs for work completed by the homeowner
- Landscaping costs
Is there a minimum amount to be eligible?
The minimum loan under this program is $10,000.
To qualify for this program, the cost to create a secondary suite on your property will need to be $20,000 or more.
Is it possible to get pre-approved for the rebate before incurring costs towards getting a permit or construction?
No, to be eligible for the program, we need a copy of your approved municipal permits.
I just completed a secondary suite or am in the process of building a secondary suite. Am I eligible?
The program is available to homeowners who meet the eligibility criteria and who received a building permit on or after April 1, 2023.
What happens after the five-year period? Can I charge market rent for the suite after that?
Landlords must continue to follow their obligations under the Residential Tenancy Act. Landlords in B.C. can issue annual rent increases to existing tenants based on the maximum allowable increase posted by the Residential Tenancy Branch each year.
After the loan has been fully forgiven, there is no restriction on what rent can be charged when entering into a rental agreement with a new tenant, consistent with the Residential Tenancy Act.
What is a principal residence?
A principal residence is the home where an owner lives permanently for at least six months per year and is the residential address the use for things such as tax returns, vehicle registration and their government-issued identification.
What kind of suites are eligible? Can I build a laneway house?
Yes. Eligible projects must be on the primary residence property. It can include secondary suites attached to the primary residence and laneway homes/garden suites as long as both units remain on the same title.
The new unit must be self-contained, with access to living facilities for daily activities such as cooking, sleeping and receiving mail.
Do mobile home, RV or 5th wheel qualify?
No, the program is available for creation of new self-contained units.
What does “below market value” mean?
To be considered affordable rental and eligible under the BC Secondary Suite Incentive Program, the tenant’s rent must not exceed the Rent Affordability Limit for your area.
Are there requirements for who I can rent my secondary suite to?
The tenant for the secondary suite cannot be an immediate family member (child, parent or sibling) of the homeowner(s).
What documents will be needed for the online application?
You will need the following documents to apply:
- Identification (BC Driver’s License, BC Service Card)
- Proof of Canadian citizenship or permanent residence (e.g., passport, birth certificate, permanent resident (PR) card)
- Proof of income (Income Tax Notice of Assessment)
- Proof of residency in the home to be modified (e.g., driver’s license, utility bill)
- Approved Building Permit from your municipality
- Estimated cost of construction (contractor quotes or other documents supporting estimated cost)
What happens if I get the rebate but then no longer meet the criteria before the end of the five-year period?
Should you no longer be eligible for the program for any reason, you would be responsible for repaying any outstanding principal balance and interest accrued.
This could be for several different reasons, including a sale of the property during the forgiveness period, or no longer meeting the terms and conditions of the forgivable loan (e.g., no longer the homeowners’ primary residence, rent is no longer below market value, etc.).