Mikko Ikonen

Personal Real Estate Corporation Sutton Group West Coast Realty

Cell 250-889-2218

Office 250-479-3333

Email: mikko@sutton.com

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March 27, 2012   Inlaw Suites.....Allowed or not??

 


The Capital Regional District (CRD) on Vancouver Island is sometimes simply referred to as Victoria, but when it comes to land use issues it bears to keep in mind that this area is comprised of 13-Individual Municipal Authorities, each with it's own unique set of Land Use Bylaws.

 

Many home owners within the CRD have secondary suites in their homes, sometimes even detached suites in separate buildings or above garages/barns. For home Buyers, the rules can be bewildering as there is significant variance depending on which local authority area the property is located in. Some municipalities may allow suites, but not within all zoning designations in that municipality, so always verify zoning with the correct local authority.

 

Here is a summary of each local authority's current policy for secondary accomodation within residential areas:. 

 

VICTORIA

Secondary suites are permitted within single family dwellings in most zones of the city, but are not permitted in small-lot zones. Secondary suites must be built with all required building permits, and are subject to size restrictions and limits on the amount of exterior changes that may occur before and after their construction.

Victoria also just approved a "garden suite" policy. (Garden suites are small, ground-floor units located in the rear yard of a single family dwelling.)

Eligible locations for a garden suite in Victoria include all properties that contain only a single family detached dwelling and are appropriately zoned, within a restricted area. Contact me for a map of the eligible area.

The proposal must meet all requirements of the garden suite policy and should incorporate the design guidelines contained in the policy. Properties that already have secondary suites are not eligible, so you cannot have a suite in the home plus a secondary garden suite. You must choose to have one, but not both.

 

ESQUIMALT

Secondary suites are permitted in a number of single family zones, including RS-1, RS-2, RS-3 and RS-5. Secondary suites are permitted only within a single family residence and are not permitted in detached or accessory buildings. Maximum size for a secondary suite is approximately 970 square feet, or 40 per cent of the total floor area of the principal residence (whichever is less - a size restriction set by the B.C. Building Code).

 

VIEW ROYAL

The municipality does not permit detached secondary suites. Attached suites must be no larger than 970 sq. ft., or 40 per cent of the primary home's floor area. The suite must be on a property no smaller than 7,000 square feet. All authorized suites must be licensed yearly by March 1st, and the owner must sign a Statutory Declaration confirming owner occupancy of the suited home. The home must have a minimum of three-parking spaces, including one for the suite.

 

OAK BAY

Secondary suites are not permitted.

 

SAANICH

Secondary suites are allowed in a designated pilot area, south of McKenzie Avenue, in RS single-family use zones only. The suite must be within the house - not in a carriage house or connected by a breezeway - and only one is allowed per house. 

  • The registered owner of the property must occupy either the single family dwelling or the secondary suite as their principle residence ( a signed affidavit is required).
  • An Occupancy Permit must be issued for the Secondary Suite from the Saanich Building Inspections Division, based on the relevant section(s) of the BC Building Code related to Secondary Suites.
  • One (1) additional onsite-parking space for the occupant of the secondary suite must be provided. Tandem parking on the driveway is permitted.
  • Some new upcoming Townhome Units in Saanich will offer Flex-Suites. Contact me for details. 

NORTH SAANICH

Allowed in the southeast quadrant of North Saanich, subject to receiving a permit and complying with the building code. The suite must be within the house, and not in an accessory building.

 

CENTRAL SAANICH

Central Saanich has allowed secondary suites since 2006, on certain lot sizes.

Over the years, the bylaw has changed. Now, suites are allowed throughout the municipality and the owner does not have to live in the home.

 

SIDNEY

Sidney has allowed suites since 1996 in single family homes throughout much of the town. They are only allowed in homes over 4,951 square feet, and they are not permitted on small lot single family homes or in duplexes.

Proposed changes to the suite bylaw, still being considered by council, include allowing suites in townhouses, row houses and apartment buildings.

As well, carriage houses may be allowed in an area of town where the layout includes lanes.

 

SOOKE

Attached secondary suites are permitted in all rural and single-family residential zones as well as several comprehensive development zones with just a few areas restricted to minimum lot sizes of 5,900 square feet. Suites must be between 430 square feet and 970 square feet, and cannot exceed 40 per cent of the home's entire floor space. Detached secondary suites have no minimum size requirements and cannot be larger than 970 square feet.

 

METCHOSIN

The municipality permits attached secondary suites that are no larger than 970 square feet or 40 per cent of the home. Council is considering allowing detached secondary suites no larger than 753 square feet on lots 0.8 hectares in size or larger.

 

COLWOOD

Secondary suites are permitted in the majority of residential and mixed-use zones. Attached suites are limited to 970 square feet, and detached suites, 645 square feet. Neither can exceed 40 per cent of the primary home's floor space.

 

LANGFORD

Attached secondary suites are permitted in most residential zones, but detached suites are retricted to comprehensive zoning in a few specific developments, such as Westhills and Valley View. Detached suites must be built above garages, which provide parking for the unit. Secondary suites must not exceed 970 square feet and must be built on lots no smaller than 5,920 square feet.

 

Some other factors include building code and electrical code compliance. Further, home insurance considerations are especially important to be aware of if the owner does not reside in the home.

 

Please keep in mind these Bylaws are fluid in nature and changes can happen at any time and thus this information is current only at the time I write this. Please verify this information at your local municipality, it is provided for information only and cannot be relied upon.

 

I hope this blog gave you some insights on secondary accomodations in the Victoria area.  If you have specific questions about local vacancy rates, rental rates and financing questions on how mortgage lenders consider rental income from an authorized suite vs. unauthorized suite vs. detached secondary accomodation to help you qualify for financing your home, please contact me at sellingvictoriabc@gmail.com

 

Thanks for reading! Best Regards, Mikko

 

 

 

March 15, 2012 ~ HST Transition Rules - How do they affect you

 


How will the HST effect you? The H.S.T. will be eliminated April 1, 2013 (yes, April Fool’s Day). To help purchasers of new homesthe provincial government has announced transitional rules. Effective April 1, 2012, buyers may be eligible for a provincial enhanced New Housing Rebate if they buy, as their primary residence, a home (as currently defined) priced up to $850,000. The current threshold is $525,000.

In addition, buyers may also be eligible for a provincial New Housing Rebate if they buy a secondary vacation or recreational home outside the Greater Vancouver and Capital Regional Districts priced up to $850,000. Buyers of new homes will be eligible for a rebate of 71.43% of the provincial portion of the HST paid on the new home up to a maximum rebate of $42,500. Homes priced at more than $850,000 will be eligible for a flat rebate of $42,500. Below are the typical scenarios. If a buyer enters into an agreement dated on or before April 1, 2012 and they take ownership or possession on or before April 1, 2012, nothing changes. The buyer will pay the 12% HST and be eligible for a rebate of up to $26,250 on homes priced to a maximum of $525,000.

Homes priced at more than $525,000 are eligible for a flat rebate of $26,250. If buyers have entered into an agreement dated on or before April 1, 2012 and they take ownership or possession on or before April 1, 2013, they will pay the 12% HST and be eligible for a rebate of up to $42,500 on homes priced to a maximum of $850,000. Homes priced at more than $850,000 are eligible for a flat rebate of $42,500. If a buyer purchases a presale residential property and they have an agreement dated on or before April 1, 2012 and they take ownership or possession on or after April 1, 2013, they will not pay the 7% provincial portion of the HST.

Instead, buyers will pay a temporary transitional provincial tax of 2% on the full house price. This 2% reflects an embedded PST builders pay on materials. If a buyer purchases a presale residential property and they have an agreement dated on or after April 1, 2012 and before April 1, 2013, and they take ownership and possession before April 1, 2013, they will pay the 12% HST and be eligible for a rebate of up to $42,500 on homes priced to a maximum of $850,000. Homes priced more than $850,000 are eligible for a flat rebate of $42,500.

If a buyer purchases a residential property and they have an agreement dated on or after April 1, 2012 but the construction of the home commenced before April 1, 2013, and they take ownership and possession after April 1, 2013, they will not pay the 7% provincial portion of the HST. Instead, buyers will pay a temporary transitional provincial tax of 2% on the full house price. This 2% reflects an embedded PST builders pay on materials. If the Contract of Purchase and Sale is signed on or after April 1, 2013, with possession after April 1, 2013, only GST is applicable. The HST will generally cease to apply to sales of real property (including residential real property) if ownership and possession of the property transfer on or after April 1, 2013. This will be the case for sales of new housing, irrespective of whether the agreement of purchase and sale was entered into before April 1, 2013 or whether construction of the new housing began before April 1, 2013.

If a Contract of Purchase and Sale is signed on or before November 18, 2009, or construction began before July 1, 2010, with possession on or after April 1, 2013 special transitional rules apply. In this situation a Buyer will pay a 2% transition tax. If a Contract of Purchase and Sale is signed after November 18, 2009, or construction began before July 1, 2010, with possession on or after April 1, 2013 the buyer will pay a 2% transition tax. However the 2% tax will not apply where construction has been substantially completed before July 1, 2010 and the PST Transitional New Housing Rebate has not been claimed as of February 17, 2012.

All the same rules apply to recreational property that apply to other residential property. The information you obtain at this site is not, nor is it intended to be, legal advice. You should consult a lawyer for individual advice regarding your own situation. Copyright © 2012 by Spagnuolo & Company Real Estate Lawyers. All rights reserved. You may reproduce materials available at this site for your own personal use and for noncommercial distribution. All copies must include this copyright statement.

 

 

 

March 15, 2012 Upcoming Blogs and your questions

 


Hello and welcome to my up and coming blog!

 

I have a few interesting topics in mind although I'd also love to hear your thoughts and questions about real estate. Are there any burning real estate issues you've always wondered about but just didn't get around to asking? Let me know! I'll do my best to get you an answer, perspective, and facts.

 

Some topics I'll be blogging about:

 

* HST Transition Rules...how will the HST affect you if you are buying a new home before we revert back to a GST and PST system?

 

* The rest of 2012 ahead...what will the market look like for the balance of the year? I don't have a crystal ball but some conclusions can be made. Is it better to sell earlier this year or wait?

 

* Inlaw suites. The Victoria area is comprised of 13- fiefdoms, each with it's own particular rules regarding Inlaw suites. If you are thinking of buying a property with a suite or building a new suite in your existing home this information will hopefully be useful to you.

 

More topics to follow...I welcome your request for a topic, drop me a line sellingvictoriabc@gmail.com  ~Thanks!

 

 

 

 

 

NOTE: MLS® property information is provided under copyright© by the Victoria Real Estate Board. The information is from sources deemed reliable, but should not be relied upon without independent verification. This website may only be used by consumers for the purpose of locating and purchasing real estate.