2024 / Domus News / Last Edited January 11

Apply for Funding to build a secondary or backyard suite on your property: Secondary and Backyard Suite Incentive Program for Eligible Homeowners

5 min read

Incentive Program to Encourage More Affordable Housing

If you are looking to renovate or build a secondary suite for your primary residence to offer it to a family member or to just rent it out, this program may be the right fit for you. Secondary and Backyard Suite Incentive Program is an initiative driven by the provincial government to partner with eligible homeowners in Nova Scotia to build affordable housing. This pilot program aims to provide loans to eligible homeowners to help construct secondary suites, whether in the basement or detached from the primary residence that they can offer to others as affordable residence. 

The program’s goal is to assist Nova Scotians in addressing the housing crisis and empowering individuals to make a meaningful contribution. The program is specifically focused on providing affordable housing, to Nova Scotians. Affordable housing ensures that rental rates are below the Average Market Rent (AMR) specific to the location. Homeowners are required to offer their secondary suites for rent to non-family members at a rate that is 20% lower than the prevailing market rents.

Eligible homeowners can receive funding to cover up to 50% of the project cost, with a maximum limit of $25,000. If your application is successful, you will be granted a forgivable loan that extends over a period of up to 5 years. Depending on the municipality’s discretion, you may also be eligible to apply for funding for more than one secondary suite. 

There are certain prerequisites of the program and the homeowner must meet the criteria set by the government to be able to apply for this program, 

  • Be a Canadian citizen or have permanent resident status in Canada.
  • Own the property on which you are proposing to build the secondary suite.
  • Be willing to use the space to offer affordable housing to a family member or to non-family members.
  • Rent the secondary suite at a price that is 20% lower than the average market rent for the area.
  • Ensure that the secondary suite meets all applicable building codes and zoning regulations.

Once the construction of the secondary suite is complete and up to date with the Nova Scotia building code, the homeowner is required to make the suite available for rent, and a formal rental agreement must be established between the homeowner and the tenant. When renting out the suite, the homeowner must ensure that they meet one of the following requirements to comply with the program’s guidelines and eligibility criteria. 

The application process for the loan is completely free of charge, and is straightforward. All you need to do is access the form on the Government’s website, provide the necessary supporting documents, and complete the checklist. After submitting your application, you can expect it to be reviewed within a reasonable timeframe of 3-4 weeks.

To assess your eligibility for the Secondary and Backyard Suite Incentive Program, you have the option to visit the Nova Scotia website. This presents an exceptional opportunity for individuals seeking financial support to construct a secondary or backyard suite on their property, providing an avenue to enhance housing options and take advantage of this valuable funding opportunity.