BC’s Secondary Suite Incentive Guide: How To Receive A $40,000 Grant For Your Home

Housing in British Columbia is an ongoing issue, with many prospective buyers and tenants struggling to find a place they can call home. However, recent initiatives that aim to stabilize the property market are paving the way for a brighter future. 

From the promise to build new homes to making ownership more affordable for first-time buyers, there are plenty of ways to get onto the property ladder. 

The government has also introduced an innovative Secondary Suite Initiative, which can benefit homeowners and renters equally. 

In this guide, we’ll explore how the initiative works and reveal how you can secure a $40,000 grant for your property. 

How Does The Secondary Suite Incentive Work?

The SSIP is an initiative designed to support homeowners while also creating more rental options in local communities. Homeowners can receive a grant to build a secondary suite and rent it out below market value. 

The grant covers up to 50% of your renovations (up to $40,000), and you won’t need to repay it—as long as you meet the stipulations. 

Once you build the secondary unit, you’ll rent it at the agreed-upon rates, depending on the suite’s size and number of bedrooms. 

You won’t need to repay the grant if you rent the suite for at least five years below the market price. Funding is in place to support homeowners who meet the eligibility criteria, but grants will be awarded on a first-come, first-served basis until the funding runs out. 

Eligibility For A Secondary Suite Grant 

Homeowners can use the Secondary Suite Incentive Program Portal to apply for a grant, but eligibility criteria are in place. Understanding whether you can secure an SSIP grant before applying can save time and money. 

Let’s look at the terms you’ll need to fulfil. 

1: Homeowners 

All applicants must be listed as registered owners of the property receiving the grant. The criteria also state that applicants should be citizens of Canada or have permanent residency status, ruling out international owners who use the property as a holiday home. 

The property should also be your primary residence, and the applicable household members must have a combined income below $209,420. 

2: Property 

The property should fall under the approved British Columbia regional districts and municipalities, which include Victoria, Vancouver, and West Vancouver. The full list of eligible locations is available here

BC Housing has also established a grant threshold, which means that homes over $2.15 million will not be able to secure funding. 

3: Secondary Suite Restrictions 

You’ll need to apply for permission as some zoning areas won’t permit secondary suites. The secondary unit must also fulfil legal guidelines, including a bathroom and kitchen. It should be a new suite, as improvements to existing suites aren’t eligible for grants. 

Garden suites and laneway homes are eligible as long as you receive building permits after April 2023. 

What Costs are Eligible For the $40,000 Secondary Suite Grant?

When applying for the Secondary Suite Grant, it’s important to remember that not all expenses will be covered. While you can receive up to $40,000—or half the construction costs—it’s best to plan ahead and understand your obligations. 

Here are the costs that are eligible for the grant. 

Architectural and Design Fees

To ensure the safety of your suite, you’ll need construction professionals and architects. Any fees accumulated during the design and planning process, including drawing up blueprints and assessing the building, can be included in your grant. 

Existing Structural Modification to A Home

Most properties must undergo minor structural alterations to accommodate a suite, including reinforcing the current structure, altering the layout and adding new walls or doors. 

However, the modifications must be necessary for accommodating the suite, so it’s essential to check with the construction company before beginning the work. 

Appliance Costs

Under the SSIP, all accommodations must be livable, which means you’ll need to ensure security and comfort. In some cases, you might be able to include appliances such as refrigerators, washing machines and stoves in the grant. 

Building and Permit Fees

When building a secondary suite, applicants must obtain applicable building permits from local authorities. These permits ensure you comply with any restrictions in place, but you can include the administrative costs in your grant. 


All fixtures that are essential for functionality can be included in your grant. For example, you’ll need to install sinks, light fixtures, toilets and other permanent installations. As long as they ensure functionality, you can receive the money. 

Electrical Work and Upgrades

Installing outlets, wiring, and other electrical work is integral to your unit’s safety. All of these expenses fall under the grant. You can also upgrade your current electrical system if it supports the unit. 


You can also use the grant to cover Goods and Service Tax, which is levied on services and goods for domestic consumption. Provincial Sales Tax is also eligible, making it easier to fulfil all criteria without the additional costs. 

How To Apply For The $40,000 Secondary Suite Grant

As mentioned, you can use the SSIP Portal to make your application. The grant officially opened for applications on April 17th, 2024, and BC Housing will issue funding on a first-come, first-served basis. 

Following these steps ensures you have all the necessary information needed for the grant, speeding up the process: 

  1. Check the criteria to ensure eligibility. This includes assessing your annual income and the property’s value. 
  2. Check with your local authority to determine whether your property qualifies for a suite—some areas have stricter rules than others. 
  3. Collect your documents for the application form, including a building permit, details about your property, and proof of your income. 
  4. Send your application and wait for approval. Then, you can construct the suite and find a suitable tenant. 
  5. Stay within the program requirements, including renting the suite at below-market prices. BC Housing will forgive 20% of the loan yearly if you stick to the terms. So, in five years, you won’t have to repay any money. 

Book A Consultation With A Victoria BC Mortgage Broker

The Secondary Suite Incentive Program isn’t just about creating more rental properties in BC; it also makes homeownership more accessible. If the costs associated with owning a property put you off in the past, adding a secondary suite could boost your income. 

Knowing you can receive money each month from the suite and potentially pay none of the grant back offers peace of mind. If you’d like to discuss your options and find a suitable property, speaking to a professional mortgage broker is the first step. 

Prime Mortgage Works works with individuals from all backgrounds, including first-time homebuyers. Please feel free to contact us for more information or begin your mortgage application today.