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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.

After getting an occupancy permit, owner builders must occupy their new home themselves for at least one year.

They cannot offer to sell, sell, or rent the new home during that one-year period after they have obtained an occupancy permit. In areas that don't need an occupancy permit, the one-year period starts from the date the home was first occupied.

Disclosure requirements

If you constructed a home under an Owner Builder Authorization, you must give any prospective buyers an Owner Builder Disclosure Notice within the first 10 years after occupancy. You must supply this notice before you can enter into a purchase and sale agreement for their home.

The 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 our Licensing & Consumer Services branch of their initial occupancy date. We won’t release the disclosure 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.

To request an Owner Builder Disclosure Notice, log into your owner builder account and select this option from the menu.

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 Section 23 of the Homeowner Protection Act, 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 later purchasers take legal action against an owner builder to correct defects as set out in the provisions of the Act. 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.

It is the owner builder's responsibility to deal with the new owner directly with regards to defects. There is no third-party warranty insurance policy backing them up. Litigation may be the only remedy available.

Request for permission to sell

Owner builders must occupy their new home themselves for a minimum of one year. They cannot offer to sell or sell an owner-built home that is under construction or within the one-year period after the occupancy permit has been obtained.

Despite the one-year occupancy requirement, an owner builder may be permitted to sell their home because of undue hardship.

To ask permission to sell, download the Permission to Sell Application Form. Then send us the completed form, along with the $100 processing fee and documentation to support your request. For applicants claiming financial hardship, please include a completed Mortgage Confirmation Certificate.

We do not give approvals lightly, so may impose conditions if the application is approved.

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. 

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. 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 an 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.