Condo construction in Victoria. Property values have continued to rise in most areas of B.C. in the past year. (Tom Fletcher/Black Press)

B.C. takes over homeowner grant applications, raises eligibility

Online system to open once property tax notices are out

B.C.’s annual homeowner grant will be paid out in full to offset property tax on homes valued up to $1.625 million this year, the latest increase to reflect the continued rise of property values.

The finance ministry sets the rate annually to ensure that most homeowners continue to be eligible for the subsidy, originally established by W.A.C. Bennett’s Social Credit government in 1957 to help people cope with rising property prices.

This year the province is taking over administration for urban areas as well as for rural B.C., meaning applications will be sent directly to the B.C. government using a new online portal that is being set up.

Early applications are not yet being accepted, although property assessments are out, showing increased values for most parts of the province. Homeowners are asked to wait for their municipal property tax notices, with the tax roll and jurisdiction numbers for the application.

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Starting this year, applications for the grant will go directly to the province, taking over the task from urban municipalities that have been processing them along with property tax payments.

The grant amount remains the same for 2021, up to $570 for homeowners in Metro Vancouver, the Fraser Valley Regional District and the Capital Regional District. Homeowners aged 65 and over, with a disability or living with a relative with a disability get up to $845.

For regions outside the three urban districts, the grant is up to $770, or $1,045 for seniors and people with a disability. The grant is reduced by $5 for every $1,000 of property value exceeding the annual threshold.


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