The Region of Waterloo is enlisting homeowners to help create more affordable housing.
Homeowners can qualify for up to $25,000 in forgivable loans to create a legal apartment in their home or on their property, and then the unit must be rented out at below-average market rent.
“It’s another option,” said Jeff Schumacher, the region’s supervisor of housing program initiatives. “Hopefully, there will be interest in the community.”
The region has a wait list for community housing and in general rental units are in short supply with a vacancy rate below two per cent.
“The vacancy rate in our community is quite low,” Schumacher said. “It’s difficult to find.”
TheÂ secondary suites program, new to Waterloo Region this year and successful in other municipalities, is administered by the region and funded by the federal and provincial governments.
From the region’s view, it’s a cost-effective way to add affordable housing. An affordable unit in a new apartment building typically requires more than $100,000 in government funding to create.
The homeowner benefits, too.
“It will obviously help the homeowner to make their living arrangement more affordable,” Schumacher said.
Allowable rents would depend on the unit size, ranging from under $589 for a bachelor apartment to $874 for a two-bedroom apartment.
A secondary suite is a self-contained unit with sleeping area, kitchen, bathroom and a separate entrance. It must meet all property standards and codes.
Homeowners can use the funding to create a new suite, make an existing in-law suite accessible or make an illegal basement apartment legal and safe.
Homeowners must have a property that is zoned to allow secondary suites to apply for the program.
First published at http://yourlegalrights.on.ca/news/new-program-homeowners-aims-add-affordable-housing-waterloo-region