The Secondary Suites Incentive Program in British Columbia has expanded eligibility to 15 regional districts, including the Squamish-Lillooet Regional District.
“We’re expanding the secondary suite program as part of our Homes for People action plan to support the supply of affordable long-term rentals in even more areas of the province so more people can access below-market housing in urban and rural areas,” said Ravi Kahlon, Minister of Housing. “We’re using innovative solutions to make it easier for homeowners and communities to build homes faster so people can live and work in the communities they love.”
The secondary suite program aims to create 1000 affordable rental units annually for three years. It will provide forgivable loans of up to $40,000 to approximately 3,000 homeowners to create secondary suites or accessory dwelling units on their properties. However, the program requires the units to be rented below market rates for at least five years.
“Rural homeowners who want to create a rental suite and people looking for affordable homes in rural B.C. will have more options soon,” said Roly Russell, Parliamentary Secretary for Rural Development. “The housing crisis affects all corners of the province. Giving people more options and support is important, and adding below-market rental suites and accessory units will help rural people and communities everywhere.”
The Province has released a comprehensive guide, Home Suite Home, to help homeowners navigate building a secondary suite. In a press release, the Province said it is also developing standardized designs that will be pre-approved for ADUs and small-scale multi-unit dwellings to streamline the permitting process for local governments and homeowners.
The project is part of the $19-billion housing investment by the B.C. government and applies to all 161 municipalities. The Province is giving $91 million over three years to encourage homeowners to develop new secondary suites in 2024. There are approximately 228,700 units could be rented out as secondary suites in British Columbia, according to BC Assessment data from 2022.