Attention: B.C. Increases Home Owner Grant Threshold to 1.6M
It's certainly a good day for those property owners who had received their 2017 property assessments in the mail last week which saw an increase in property value as high as 41%.
To further address the ever-rising real estate market in Metro Vancouver, the Provincial Government of British Columbia has increased the Home Owner Grant threshold by 33% to 1.6M. This means for those who claim their property as a primary residence, they may be qualified for the Home Owner Grant for up to $570. However, this amount diminishes by $5 for each $1,000 of assessed value over $1,600,000, which means the grant isn’t available for Metro Vancouver properties assessed over $1,714,000.
Despite the recent steep increases in values from B.C. assessment, 91% of the B.C homes will remain below the new threshold. I believe the neighborhoods which will significantly benefit from this newly introduced policy will be East Vancouver, Burnaby and the Tri-Cities areas, as many homes in those areas have been valued well over the previous threshold of $1.2M.
For those who need a bit reminder on how the B.C. Home Owner Grant works, please read below or click here. Additional Grant are also available for
- A senior
- A veteran
- A person with disabilities
- Living with a spouse or relative with disabilities
- A spouse or relative of a deceased owner
Do I Qualify?
To qualify for the grant you must meet the following requirements:
- You’re the registered owner of the residence
- You’re a Canadian citizen or permanent resident of Canada
- You live in B.C.
- You occupy the residence as your principal residence
For the purpose of claiming the home owner grant, you can have only one principal residence.
If you own more than one home, you can't designate which one is your principal residence.
Your principal residence is the usual place that you make your home. It’s where you live and conduct your daily affairs, like paying bills and receiving mail, and it’s generally the residence used in your government records for things like your income tax, medical services plan, driver's license and vehicle registration.
To qualify for the home owner grant, your principal residence must be taxed as an improvement.
You must occupy your principal residence when you apply for the home owner grant. However, if you meet certain requirements you may still be able to apply for the grant if you:
- Work outside the province
- Are absent for reasons such as medical, travel, education or home renovations
- Moved into a residential care facility
- Moved out of your principal residence because it was damaged
Home owner grant amounts are determined based on:
If you meet all requirements but your property’s assessed or partitioned value is over $1,600,000, you may qualify for the grant at a reduced amount.
The grant is reduced by $5 for each $1,000 of assessed value over $1,600,000. This means the grant isn’t available for properties assessed over $1,714,000 ($1,754,000 in a northern and rural area).
Partitioning your property value may enable you to claim the home owner grant if:
- You previously couldn’t, or could only claim a reduced grant, because of the high assessed value of your property, and
- Your property consists of your principal residence and at least one separate residence
You may apply to have the assessed value of your property partitioned using the Home Owner Grant Partitioning of Assessed Value Calculation (FIN 91) (PDF).
The partitioned value of a property is the property’s assessed value divided by the number of residences on that property. To qualify, each residence must have cooking, sleeping, bathroom and living room facilities.
Laneway homes and multi-family dwellings like a duplex, triplex and fourplex qualify as separate residences. A suite in your principal residence doesn’t qualify as a separate residence.
Most homeowners must pay at least $350 in property taxes before claiming the home owner grant to help fund services such as road maintenance and police protection. This amount may be less if you qualify for the home owner grant as a senior, veteran or person with a disability.
If you purchased your property during the current tax year, you may be eligible for the home owner grant if you meet the following requirements:
- The previous owner didn’t pay all of the property taxes
- The previous owner didn’t claim the grant
- You didn’t receive a grant this year for another home
- You’re occupying the property when you apply for the grant
The home owner grant that you’re eligible to claim will be applied against only the property taxes that the previous owner didn’t pay.