Homeowner – Repairs & Accessibility Modifications
Forgivable Grants for Niagara Home Owners – The Niagara Renovates Program is a program for low-and modest-income households in Niagara that funds:
Affordable housing repairs
Housing modifications for persons with disabilities
To qualify, existing homes must need repairs to bring them up to a minimum level of health and safety, and/or permanent modifications to increase accessibility for the occupant’s disability. All repair work must include energy-saving products where possible.
Examples of eligible repairs include:
- Structural (including building exterior such as roofs, foundations or walls)
- Fire safety
- Electrical and/or heating
Examples of eligible accessibility work include:
- Handrails and chair/bath lifts
- Height adjustment to counter tops
- Cues for doorbells/fire alarms
The improvements must be permanent and remove physical barriers, safety risks and improve daily living within the home.
Examples of projects that are not eligible include:
- Routine maintenance
- Cosmetic renovations and repairs
Households are allowed one application under the Niagara Renovates Program.Forgivable Grants for Niagara Home Owners is provided as a fully forgivable loan, which is written off at an equal rate over a 10 year period. The loan is not repaid if the homeowners remain as owners and live in the home during the 10 year forgivable period.
The maximum loan amount includes a portion for accessibility repairs, if required, of up to $5,000 that does not need to be repaid.
Forgivable Grants for Niagara Home Owners
If any of the following occur, the homeowner is considered to be in default and the balance of the loan amount must be repaid:
- The home is sold
- The homeowner stops living in the unit as the primary residence
- The Forgivable Grants for Niagara Home Owners funding is used for other purposes
- The homeowner has misrepresented information about program eligibility
To be eligible, households must meet the following criteria:
The total income of all household members must be at or below the following, based on the number of bedrooms in the home:
- 1 Bedroom – $33,500
- 2 Bedroom – $41,000
- 3 Bedroom – $50,500
- 4+ Bedroom – $61,500
Homeowners must own the home for a minimum of five (5) years.
- The home must be valued below the average MLS (Multiple Listing Service) resale price of $339,294 – the latest Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) Assessment or Property Tax Bill must be provided.
- Homeowners who have previously received Homeownership and/or Forgivable Grants for Niagara Home Ownersfund are not eligible until the 10 year forgivable period expires.
Note: NRH will determine the homeowners financial capacity to make the repairs requested, based on their income, savings and other liquid assets.Homeowner Requirements
Complete and sign an application and provide all supporting documentation, including:
- Copy of Driver’s License(s), passport(s) or other photo identification to verify owners
- Proof of income of all members of household
- MPAC Assessment or Property Tax Bill
- Insurance coverage
- NRH will conduct a title search on the property. Associated costs will be included in the total approved Forgivable Grants for Niagara Home Owners funding amount.
If the application is complete and meets eligibility requirements, an inspection will be conducted on the property. A report will be provided to the homeowner with Conditional Approval.
Homeowners are to obtain estimates from professional contractors and provide copies to NRH.
Contractors must provide copies of WSIB coverage and Insurance Coverage as part of the quote process.Final ApprovalQuotes will be reviewed by NRH. Final Approval will be issued via a Letter of Agreement outlining the scope of work, Forgivable Grants for Niagara Home Owners funding amount, and roles and responsibilities of both homeowner(s) and NRH.
The mortgage/charge will be registered on title by NRH. Associated legal costs will be included in the total approved Forgivable Grants for Niagara Home Owners funding amount.
Homeowners are to start work within 30 days of receiving final approval. Work that started prior to written approval by NRH is not eligible.
Homeowners must allow inspections by NRH:
Prior to start of work
During construction (as required)
When project is completeThese inspections are over and above the required inspections for building permit work.
For general information or to obtain an application for the Niagara Regional Housing Niagara Renovates Program – Homeowner
Contact: 905-682-9201 ext. 3917
Or mail to:
Niagara Regional Housing
Niagara Region Headquarters
1815 Sir Isaac Brock Way
PO Box 344, Thorold, ON
If you require this or any other material in an alternate format, please contact Niagara Regional Housing.
The Niagara Renovates Program is a program that funds the creation of Secondary Suites in single family homes. Secondary suite units must have modest floor space and amenities.
A Secondary Suite is defined as a self-contained, separate unit with sleeping, full kitchen and bath facilities and a separate entrance. The new unit must meet applicable zoning, building, fire and property standards.
Forgivable Grants for Niagara Home Owners Funding for Secondary Suites of up to $25,000 is a fully forgivable loan which is written off at an equal amount over a 15 year period, provided the Owner complies with the conditions of the Letter of Agreement.
The loan amount includes a grant portion for accessibility modifications, if required, of up to $5,000 that does not need to be repaid.
To be eligible, the single family home must be valued at or below the median price of single-detached homes as per Canada Mortgage & Housing Corporation’s (CMHC) Housing Now – Housing Market Information (2016).
St. Catharines $390,000
Niagara Falls $380,000
Fort Erie $389,229
Pelham, Port Colborne, Wainfleet, West Lincoln $500,000
The total gross income of the incoming tenant in the newly created secondary suite must be at or below the following, based on the number of bedrooms in the secondary suite:
Bedroom Type Bachelor 1 Bedroom
Household Income Limit $27,000 $33,500
Prior to move-in and lease signing, the Tenant is required to complete an Income Verification Form with supporting income documentation, and provide it to NRH to assess initial eligibility.
The Owner is required to incorporate the following clauses into their lease with the secondary suite tenant:
Ninety (90) days prior to the tenant’s annual anniversary date, the Tenant is required to complete an Income Verification Form, include copies of supporting income documentation and submit it to NRH to assess continued eligibility.
If the Tenant earns above the maximum income limit (issued annually), the Tenant is required to move out of the unit.
The Owner acknowledges that if the Tenant fails to provide initial and annual income verification to NRH, the Owner will be in default of the Letter of Agreement and the balance of the forgivable loan must be repaid.
Secondary Suite Maximum Rents
Secondary suite units must have rents at or below approved average market rents. For 2017, the average market rents are:
Area Bachelor 1 Bedroom
St. Catharines $661 $831
Niagara Falls $566 $809
Welland $625 $757
All Other Areas $634 $802
Applicants for secondary suites may be taken from NRH’s centralized waiting.
Households who received Forgivable Grants for Niagara Home Owners funding in the past are not eligible for this program.
If any of the following occur, the Owner is considered to be in default of the Letter of Agreement and the balance of the forgivable loan must be repaid:
The home is sold
The funding is used for other purposes
The Owner misrepresented information about program eligibility
The Owner charges a rent that is above the maximum allowed rent
The Secondary Suite Tenant fails to provide initial and ongoing income verification to NRH
The Secondary Suite Tenant’s income is above the maximum income allowed
Prior to completing a Secondary Suite Application, the Owner is required to obtain written confirmation from their municipal Building/Planning Department that their property is properly zoned to allow for Secondary Suites.
The Owner is required to complete and sign the application form and provide all supporting documentation including:
Copy of driver’s license(s) or passport(s) or other photo identification to verify owners
Written confirmation from the Building/Planning Department that the property is properly zoned
Home insurance coverage
Copy of MPAC Statement or Property Tax Bill
A title search of the property will be conducted by NRH. The associated costs will be included in the total approved funding amount.
If the application is deemed eligible for funding, NRH will provide Conditional Approval. At that time, the Owner will be required to submit and obtain approval from the municipal Building/Planning Department & Fire Department for their secondary suite plans/drawings. A copy of the approved drawings is to be forwarded to NRH for review.
When drawings/plans are approved by NRH, the Owner is required to obtain a minimum of three quotes for the construction of the Secondary Suite, obtain contractor WSIB Clearance and Insurance Coverage and forward all documentation to NRH for review and approval.
NRH will review all documentation and will issue Final Approval via a Letter of Agreement, outlining the scope of work, funding amount, and roles of the Owner(s) and NRH.
All Owners must sign the Letter of Agreement.
The Letter of Agreement and Mortgage/Charge will be registered on title. Registration fees will be included in the total approved amount. NRH will not issue any payment until all documents are registered on title.
The Owner is required to start work within 45 days. Work started prior to written approval by NRH is not eligible.
The Owner is required to allow inspections by NRH:
Prior to start of work
When project is complete
These inspections are over and above the required inspections by the municipal Building Department.
Other Regional Programs
Niagara Region partners with local municipalities to provide incentives for housing in "Community Improvement Plan" areas. If a property is in one of these areas, homeowners may be eligible for Regional/ Municipal contributions to their project. Programs that may assist homeowners with their project are set by each municipality. Homeowners should check with their local municipality to determine if they are eligible for any incentive programs.
We believe the information contained in this
article to be accurate.It is presented with the
understanding that we are not engaged in
rendering legal,accounting, or investment advice.
When professional assistance is required,
utilize the services of a licensed real estate
broker, lawyer, accountant,
or other consultant as may be required.
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