House Suite Can Be Factored Into Your Mortgage Application, With Restrictions.
Using suite rental income to qualify for a mortgage in Whistler is a process. It starts with finding a house with a legitimate suite which the lending institution will accept as authorized accommodation. Some real estate agents in Whistler refer to unauthorized accommodation, as non-conforming, or illegal space. I prefer to use the term provided by the Real Estate Council of BC, which is unauthorized accommodation.
What is Unauthorized Accommodation?
The building plans are presented to and approved by the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW). Through due process everything on those plans would be deemed authorized space. The suite must be in the original building plans. If the suite was added after those plans were approved, the suite would be referred to as unauthorized accommodation.
One of the most common area for change is adding on a suite, or adding on a second suite. The Seller must divulge that there is unauthorized accommodation on the Property Disclosure Statement (PDS). Which is why the BC Council of Real Estate requests that buyer views the PDS before writing the offer. In addition, viewing the property’s file from the building department of the RMOW would also be advantageous. However, most listing agents do not have the RMOW documents on-hand when they rush to list a property, rarely is the PDS completed. So, the buyer could have written an offer and then once the plans arrive, find out that there is unauthorized accommodation. The listing agent may tell us what is unauthorized space, but it really should not be relied upon. We are better to do our own research.
Whistler Mortgage Broker Comments
I asked Karen Garrett of Dominion Lending, Whistler, how easy it was to get financing on a house with a suite. Karen responded “The banks are very strict about lending against unauthorized space. If the contract states something like ‘buyer is aware the suite is non-conforming and illegal’ then it is more likely the lender won’t allow the suite to be factored in to the financings.”
To avoid a misunderstanding, the buyer’s agent should be adding the unauthorized accommodation clause to the contract. This clause states “The Buyer is aware that the property contains unauthorized accommodation and has been informed of the consequences of such ownership and the potential loss of income should the rental use be discontinued.” A clause like that will surely raise the question of “what is unauthorized?” from the lending institution.
How to Spot An Unauthorized Suite
Unauthorized suites are easy to spot. A suite is defined by it’s own exterior entrance. If the entrance is through the main house, that is your first clue. Second clue is the suite does not have a full kitchen, for example, the ‘kitchen’ only has a hot plate, that is not a true suite. Third clue is if there is already one authorized suite factored in for financing. Then you ask to use a second suite in the home. Two suites are not allowed in a Whistler home.
Banks Have An Independent Appraiser
The banks send out an independent property appraiser, hired by the bank to prepare a report on the property you are asking them to finance. This is usually done at the last minute prior to subject removal. So the report will tell them if you have accidentally misled them. These pitfalls should be identified by your real estate agent, before making an offer.
Are you looking for a real estate agent who can help navigate the pitfalls of purchasing real estate in Whistler? Check out the FAQ for Buyers page on this site. Contact me if you are not already working with a realtor.