BC Funding Options for Accessibility Renovations

When the time comes to make some changes to our homes to make them safe and accessible, we need to figure out how to pay for it. In BC, we are fortunate to have some tax credits available that ultimately reduce the overall costs, as well as a non-repayable grant for those that qualify.

Renovations can be funded using the following:

  1. From savings, investments, personal loan, line of credit or credit card.
  2. Reverse mortgage
  3. BC Housing Home Adaptions for Independence Grant

The cost of renovations can be reduced by applying for the following:

  1. Seniors Home Renovation Tax Credit
  2. Medical Tax Credit

Reverse Mortgage:

A reverse mortgage is a way to finance needed home renovations without dipping into cash reserves or adding to monthly payments. You access equity in the home to finance renovations.

  • Homeowners must be 55+
  • Up to 50% of market value
  • No payments until both you and your spouse leave the home.
  • Amount repaid is never more than fair market value.
  • Does not count as income.
  • You still own your home and remaining equity is yours.
  • Ask your mortgage broker for details.

BC Housing Home Adaptions for Independence Grant (HAFI)– up to $20,000!

The Home Adaptations for Independence (HAFI) program provides financial assistance to help eligible low-income seniors and people with disabilities in British Columbia to continue to live in the comfort of their home. You may receive up to $20,000 in home renovations in a non-repayable grant, but you must meet requirements to qualify.

HAFI Qualifications:

  • Qualifications vary by Geographic Location
  • Kelowna, West Kelowna, Lake Country – $399,999 Max home value as per last BC Assessment
  • Income based on household composition: Single or couple – maximum income in Kelowna $31,500; couple with son or daughter maximum income in Kelowna is $39,500.
  • Household assets must be less than $100,000 (not including home, RRSPs, RESPs, RDSPs, vehicle) and you are unable to finance the requested adaptions.

Eligible Adaptions Include:

  • Ramps, lifts and elevators.
  • Grab bars, handrails, lever controls, handles.
  • Switches, controls and plugs to accessible locations.
  • Lighting, reflective strips, contrasting colours.
  • Floor coverings, non-slip, non-trip.
  • Cupboards, sinks, counters and controls in kitchen and bathroom.
  • Layout changes , including extensions, doorway widening and moving fixtures.
  • Accessible bathtub or shower, higher toilets, bidet seat, wall mount sinks and cabinets. Anti-scald devices.
  • Alarms and multi-sensory warning systems.

Not Eligible for HAFI:

  • Replacement of windows.
  • Repairs to or maintenance of heating system
  • Portable air conditioner, air purifier, dehumidifier.
  • Extensions or conversions for recreational or office space.
  • Upgrading existing plumbing systems.
  • Emergency repairs.
  • Non-permanent adaptions or portable aids

How to Apply:

  • Review your eligibility.
  • Review list of eligible adaptions.
  • Get 1-3 quotes for each part of the renovation, depending on estimated dollar value of renovation. Quotes from companies for different parts of job is ok, but make sure your quotes are apples to apples. (i.e. get 3 quotes on the same type of tub)
  • Gather supporting documents. (bank statements, BC Assessment, investment summaries, last year’s tax returns, proof of residency)
  • Complete the homeowner or landlord application.
  • Submit paperwork to BC Housing.
  • Follow up in 2 weeks with BC Housing.

HAFI questions:

  • Landlords can also apply on behalf of renters.
  • You do not need to repay the grant, provided you live in your home for 1-3 years after renovation or if landlords limit rent increases for 5 years.
  • For more information, contact BC Housing – http://www.bchousing.org/Options/Home_Renovations 1-800-257-7756
  • BC Housing has the final decision, but you can appeal in writing within 30 days.

Seniors Home Renovation Tax Credit
If you are a senior and do a renovation in the 2014 tax year, then you can claim the tax credit when you file your 2014 taxes.

  • Refundable tax, that means if you don’t owe taxes, the Receiver General will send you a refund cheque.
  • 65+, or shared home with someone 65+
  • Assists with the costs of permanent home renovations for seniors so that they can remain in the home longer.
  • 10% of eligible expenses up to a maximum of $1000 ($10,000 worth of renovations). If you spend $12,000 renovating your home to make it more accessible, then you could claim a $1000 Tax Credit.
  • 12,000 x 10% = $1200.00, but the maximum you can claim is $1000.00.

Medical Tax Credit

If you do renovations for safety and accessibility due to a medical condition, you should be able to claim your expenses as a medical tax credit when you file your taxes.

  • Prescription needed that says you need equipment to help to get in or out of a bathtub or shower or to get on or off the toilet.
  • Claim part of the expense not claimed on the Senior Home Renovation Tax Credit.
  • Reduces taxes owed (in most cases)