Home renovation programs

While renovating an existing property can be a costly proposition, there are programs available for qualified Canadian homeowners that help with expenses. Taking advantage of home renovation programs can ease financial strain and ensure that your home is in peak condition.

Homeowner Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program (RRAP)
This program is offered by the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation to low income homeowners looking to make vital repairs to their property but can’t afford to pay for them. Homeowners looking to apply for the RRAP should make sure that their property is eligible.

Eligible properties must be valued below a certain amount, be at least five years old and need major repairs for either heating, structural, electrical, plumbing or fire safety issues. In addition, the RRAP may be available to homeowners who need help to reduce overcrowding in their property. However, in order to qualify, homeowners must have a total household income at or below the CMHC’s income threshold.

The Homeowner Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program will assist homeowners with a fully forgivable loan. The loan does not have to be repaid as long as homeowners agree to continue owning and living in the property during the earning period of the loan.

Residential Rehabilitation Assistance Program for Persons with Disabilities (RRAP – Disabilities)
This program allows qualified homeowners and landlords to receive assistance in paying for property modifications to make a home more accessible for people with disabilities. Modifications could include eliminating barriers, improving safety risks and other changes that will help a person with disabilities live a more comfortable lifestyle.

Eligible properties include homes occupied by people with disabilities and a low income, homes intended to be used by people with disabilities, owned homes valued below a certain amount, rented homes with rent below a certain amount and homes without major structural or system problems.

Eligible modifications include things like ramps, handrails, chair lifts, bath lifts, height adjustments and cues for door bells and alarms. It’s important that whatever modifications are done relate specifically to the disability the homeowner or renter has.

Just as with the regular RRAP, changes to the property will be paid for with a fully forgivable loan as long as the terms and conditions of the program are met. For landlords using RRAP – Disabilities, rent and occupancy restrictions exist over the length of the loan. Meanwhile, homeowners must agree to own and live in the property for the entirety of the loan forgiveness period.

Home Adaptations for Seniors’ Independence (HASI)
Much like the RRAP – Disabilities program, HASI allows eligible homeowners and landlords to modify a property to make it easier for older people to meet their everyday needs. Unlike the RRAP – Disabilities program, however, the HASI program is for more modest changes.

Eligible properties include homes owned by or rented out to persons 65 years of age or older with a total household income that is below a certain amount.

Modifications must be minor additions that either improve access to basic areas of the home or increase safety for older occupants. These modifications must be permanently installed or fixed to the property.

While the HASI program features a fully forgivable loan, it is only good for up to $3,500. However, as long as the homeowner agrees to continue living in the property for six months, or the landlord agrees not to raise the rent, the loan does not have to be repaid.

These are far from the only programs that exist. For homeowners looking to save on homeownership, looking beyond mortgage rates and closing costs to programs such as these can result in significant savings. Find out if your home is eligible for a home renovation program today.

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