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Buying or Selling an Owner-Built Home

If owner builders want to sell their new home, there are conditions they should be aware of and requirements they’ll need to fulfil.

First and foremost: after obtaining an occupancy permit, owner builders must occupy their new home themselves for at least one year. They cannot sell or rent the new home during that one-year period, either.

Disclosure requirements

If owner builders built their home under a BC Housing Owner Builder Authorization — in other words, after November 19, 2007 — they must give any prospective buyers a BC Housing Owner Builder Disclosure Notice within the first 10 years after occupancy. They must supply this notice before they can enter into a purchase and sale agreement for their home.

This Notice informs buyers whether the home was built under an Owner Builder Authorization, when the 10-year period started and if there is a voluntary policy of home warranty insurance in place.

Owner builders must advise BC Housing’s Licensing & Consumer Services Branch of their initial occupancy date. We won’t release the Notice until we have verified the one-year occupancy requirement.

Any subsequent owners must also provide the Owner Builder Disclosure Notice if they sell the home to another buyer within the 10-year period.

If owner builders built their homes before November 19, 2007, they must give any prospective buyers the old-form Owner Builder Declaration and Disclosure Notice within the first 10 years after occupancy.

Our regulatory bulletin, Buying or Selling an Owner-Built Home , explains in greater detail:

  • The occupancy and disclosure requirements for owner-built homes
  • The requirements for selling an owner-built home during construction or before the occupancy requirements are met

Owner builder statutory liability

If owner builders sell their homes within the first 10 years of occupancy, they stay liable to any subsequent purchasers for defects in the home during that 10-year period. According to the Homeowner Protection Act and Regulation, an owner builder’s obligations under the statutory protection are similar to the obligations of a licensed residential builder under a policy of home warranty insurance:

  • 2 years for material and labour
  • 5 years for defects in the building envelope
  • 10 years for structural defects

The statutory protection lets subsequent purchasers take legal action against an owner builder to correct defects as set out in the provisions. There are some reasonable exceptions to the statutory protection, such as defects caused by someone other than the builder or natural disasters. These are set out in detail in the Act and Regulation.

Owners wanting to rectify defects within the 10-year period must contact the owner builder.

Using the New Homes Registry

The easiest way to see whether a home can be offered for sale is to search our New Homes Registry, where you can check the status of a new home or a new home under construction and find out if the home:

  • Has a policy of home warranty insurance
  • Is built by a licensed residential builder
  • Is built without home warranty insurance under an exemption, such as an Owner Builder Authorization

Other information includes:

  • Builder’s warranty number
  • Name and contact number of the warranty provider
  • Whether there is a Owner Builder Disclosure Notice on file for an owner-built home

You can search any homes registered with BC Housing on or after November 19, 2007. If you are searching for a home registered between July 1, 1999 and November 18, 2007, or you can’t find a property on the Registry, please call us at 604-646-7050 or 1-800-407-7757 (toll free), or email licensinginfo@bchousing.org.

Request for permission to sell

Despite the one-year occupancy requirement for owner builders, the Act does have an exemption for people in difficult circumstances. On the basis of undue financial hardship, owner builders can apply to BC Housing for permission to sell during construction or earlier than one year after occupancy.

If you built the home under an Owner Builder Authorization, download the Permission to Sell Application Form . Then send us the completed form, along with the Mortgage Confirmation Certificate , any other required supporting documentation and the $100 processing fee.

If we approve the application, we may also impose conditions. The Act and Regulation ensure that a partially completed or newly occupied owner-built home is not sold without legal protection for a new homebuyer.

Offences and penalties

Owner builders can avoid committing offences and incurring penalties under the Act by being mindful of the regulations and filing the correct documentation on time. For more information on occupancy permits, illegal sales and listings, the Owner Builder Disclosure Notice and more, consult our regulatory bulletin, Buying or Selling an Owner-Built Home .