Owner Built Homes – Info from Real Estate Council

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2015


The Council has become aware that some owner-built homes in the province are being offered for sale illegally. Are you confident that the homes you are helping clients to buy or sell can be legally sold? 

Before a property owner builds their own home, or substantially reconstructs their own home, they must apply for an Owner Builder Authorization from the Homeowner Protection Office (HPO). Then, they must occupy their home themselves for the first year following construction. During that year, the home can’t be sold or rented. After the first year, and for the next ten years, any prospective buyers must receive an Owner Builder Disclosure Notice – whether they are buying the home from the owner-builder, or from subsequent owners.

Before listing a property or before assisting a client to make an offer on a property, as a licensee you have a responsibility to take appropriate steps to ensure that a home can be legally sold. Owner-builders who sell homes before the one year occupancy period has ended, or who don’t provide the Owner Builder Disclosure Notice to buyers, can face legal proceedings under the Homeowner Protection Act. And licensees could face an investigation and potential discipline for not acting in the best interests of their clients.

Avoid the Risks: Take Steps to Ensure a Home Can be Legally Sold

 STEP 1: Search the HPO’s New Homes Registry. Enter the home’s address or legal description to find out if the home has a policy of home warranty insurance, or if it is built under an exemption, such as an Owner-Builder Authorization. Checking online is a fast, simple way to find out if the home can legally be offered for sale – and it’s recommended whether you are acting for a seller or a buyer.

STEP 2: Advise owner-builder clients to file occupancy permit information promptly, so the HPO can verify the information and provide an Owner Builder Disclosure Notice well in advance of any offers for sale.

STEP 3: Ensure that any prospective buyers within the ten-year period receive an Owner-Builder Disclosure Notice. Insert the Receipt of Owner-Builder Disclosure Notice Clause into the Contract of Purchase and Sale to confirm that the buyer received the notice.

© Copyright Real Estate Council of British Columbia

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