Sep 20, 2023

The Province of BC has announced a new program to provide forgivable loans of up to $40k to homeowners to build a secondary suite on their property.

If you have been thinking about adding a secondary suite to your home in Colwood, now might be a good time to accelerate your plans. In anticipation of this new funding opportunity, the City recently updated secondary suite regulations, including allowing for larger garden suites up to 968 square feet on properties with single family homes, duplexes or townhomes, and requiring that an additional unobstructed parking space must be provided for each suite. 

Colwood is here to help residents understand and navigate the secondary suite process to better prepare homeowners to access the funding.

About the BC Secondary Suite Incentive Program

The Secondary Suite Incentive Program is intended to support the prosperity of homeowners while creating more affordable housing in their communities. The program will provide an interest free loan to help homeowners create a new secondary suite on their property, and if rented out for below market value, the loan becomes forgivable.

Homeowners who qualify will receive 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.

Thinking through the dollars and cents

This BC Housing Housing Affordability table states that the rent limit for an affordable 1-bedroom suite in Victoria is $1300. If the average rent for a 1-bedroom apartment on the West Shore is currently in the range of $1600, that represents an estimated $300 difference in income for property owners accessing this funding. However, other factors to consider might be the borrowing costs if you were to build a suite without the incentive program, and the post-program potential to rent at full market value after the five-year affordability requirement ends. If you have room in your current home to build a secondary suite, this program is likely to make the addition revenue positive for you.

Colwood is here to help you navigate the secondary suite process

Reach out to the Development Services team if you have questions about whether zoning for your neighbourhood allows for secondary suites - most areas of Colwood do.

Contact to the Building Services team to learn more about the building process in Colwood and what would be required for your application to the BC Secondary Suite Incentive Program.

Check out this Checklist for Adding a Suite in Colwood.

Watch these quick videos to learn a bit about how the Colwood Development Services and Building Services teams work with residents to achieve their goals:
Colwood Development Services Video
Colwood Building Services Video

Stay tuned for more information to support Colwood homeowners who may be interested in taking advantage of this opportunity.

Background information

Read the Province of BC Home Suite Home guide
Learn more and sign up for updates about the BC Housing Secondary Suite Incentive Program

Media Contact

Sandra Russell, Communications Manager

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