Media Release - Only Two Months Left Before Secondary Suite Incentives End
Wednesday, April 04, 2012
West Vancouver, BC: - The incentive program that was created in 2010 for homeowners to register their existing secondary suites simply and affordably will expire May 31, 2012.
Secondary suites have been legal in West Vancouver since March 1, 2010. The District established alternative life / safety standards to allow homeowners to register and legalize their existing suites in a cost-effective manner, rather than retroactively applying the BC Building Code requirements, which are more costly.
Since the program was launched, some changes were made to the original program to better meet the needs of West Vancouver residents. As these requirements changed, the deadline was extended. There will be no further extensions.
The program has been very successful. To date, almost 700 applications have been received. Both homeowners and occupants receive a number of benefits when a suite is registered, including:
- Residents in the suite and the primary dwelling have certainty that life safety standards have been met.
- Emergency responders are aware of the presence of a suite in the event of an incident at the address.
- Homeowners realize an immediate increase in their property value for having a legal secondary suite.
In addition to safety concerns, owners of unregistered suites face additional risks. Insurance may not cover losses resulting from illegal suites, and some lenders may revoke financing. If a suite is identified after the incentive program expires, registering a suite under the BC Building Code requirements may require renovations that could be quite costly. In light of these risks, an annual fee of $350 for an existing suite can be considered relatively inexpensive insurance.
After more than two years of incentives, the District will discontinue the incentive program May 31, 2012. Homeowners who get their applications in by that date will be able to benefit from the incentives offered. Once the alternative life / safety requirements expire, all suites will need to meet the BC Building Code standards. Visit westvancouver.ca/secondarysuite for more information.
About the District of West Vancouver
The District of West Vancouver is the local government led by Mayor Michael Smith and Council. Home to more than 44,000 residents, West Vancouver is a local government which strives to "inspire excellence and lead by example". Our Vision and Mission guide us to pursue our treasured quality of life and will be the measure of our success as a community. West Vancouver is a community built on innovation, a strong spirit of personal civic commitment and a deep value for relationships.
Jessica Delaney Director of Communications
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