The City of Kelowna offers incentives to housing in strategic ways to ensure that the type of housing (e.g.: rental, ownership) and the location of new housing achieve our long-term and overall community objectives. The Cities Development Cost Charges are structured to reflect the larger infrastructure burden of development outside of Kelowna's core. That structure acts as an incentive for development within the core area of Kelowna.
To encourage rental housing in Kelowna, The City of Kelowna having two incentive programs in place: a rental housing grants program, and a tax exemption program.
The City of Kelowna offers developers of purpose-built rental housing the opportunity to obtain grant funding as a measure to offset Development Cost Charges. Approved grants are applied against the Development Cost Charges at the time of Building Permit.
What kinds of projects are eligible for rental housing incentives?
Projects must be a purpose-built rental building with five or more units and units must be secured as a rental by entering into a housing agreement with the City of Kelowna. Dwellings qualifying for funding must be reasonably expected to start construction in the year the grant is awarded.
How much money is available?
Currently the pool of funding available is $420,000. The grants are provided in the form of DCC Credits on a per unit basis. The grant amounts are determined by the number of applications that the City receives with up to $8,000 for three or more bedroom units, $4,000 for two bedroom units, and $2,000 for bachelor or one bedroom units available. Over the past couple of years, the grant amounts have been in the range of $500-$1,000 per unit.
Why are three bedrooms eligible for a higher grants amount?
The grant program was updated in 2016 to more accurately reflect the cost of developing larger units and to support the creation of family-friendly rental units, as there is a zero percent vacancy rate for three bedroom units in Kelowna.
Who is eligible, do I need to be a non-profit?
The project must be five or more units and the units must be secured through a housing agreement. Other project criteria and eligibility are currently under review.
How do I apply?
Applicants must fill out the application form and submit it to the Policy and Planning department. You will need to provide basic information about your project, including site information, unit mix/sizes and the ownership of the land.
When is the deadline?
Each year the deadline for applications is in the fall with the funding being provided in the following year. This program is currently under review. Updated details will be posted by the end of September 2018 outlining the program criteria.
Another developer incentive is the revitalization tax exemption program for purpose-built rental housing. The program provides eligible purpose-built rental housing projects with relief from a share of municipal property taxes. This program is guided by the City’s Revitalization Tax Exemption.
Does my project need to be downtown to be eligible?
No. Projects can be anywhere within the city to apply for the rental housing tax exemption. However, the City will only consider applications when the vacancy rate for the rental market is at or below three percent based on the annual CMHC rental housing report. The vacancy rate from the most recent CMHC report was is 0.7 percent.
What part of my taxes are exempt?
The program provides a 100% municipal tax exemption on the “revitalization amount”. This is defined in the Revitalization Tax Exemption Bylaw as the municipal portion of property tax calculated in relation to the increase in the assessed value of improvements on the property resulting from the construction or alterations as outlined in section 6 of this bylaw;” For example, if you build a four storey apartment building on a lot that was previously vacant you would receive a municipal tax exemption for 10 years on the value of the new building (the improvements). The tax exemption does not extend to the land value.
When will my tax exemption start?
Generally, the exemption will begin the year after the project is constructed and occupancy has occurred. However, BC Assessment has a September deadline for new buildings to be assessed. For example, if a project completes construction in December of 2017 it will have missed BC Assessment’s deadline for new projects. Therefore, the building will be assessed in 2018 with the ten-year exemption starting in 2019.
At what point do I apply to the Revitalization Tax Exemption?
If you are also applying for a Rental Housing Grant you will likely want to submit your rental housing tax exemption application after you complete your housing agreement for your Rental Housing Grant.
Source: City of Kelowna online service