Extended Absences From Your Principal Residence

Normally, you must occupy your principal residence at the time you apply for the home owner grant. However, you may still be able to apply for the grant if you’re away from your principal residence.

The requirements differ depending on the reason for your absence:

Working Outside B.C.

If you’re away because you work outside of the province, you may still be able to apply for the grant if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You received the home owner grant for the property last year
  • You occupied the property as your principal residence right before your absence
  • You plan to re-occupy the property as your principal residence when you return
  • The property isn’t for sale or rented while you’re away
  • The property is vacant while you’re away, or is occupied  by your spouse or relative as their principal residence and they also occupied the property as their principal residence right before your absence

You can apply for the grant for the first two tax years of your absence.

If you don’t re-occupy the property as your principal residence by December 31st of the third tax year, you’ll have to repay the home owner grants you received while you were away, with interest.

Residence Was Damaged or Destroyed

If you moved out of your principal residence so that substantial damage or destruction caused by fire, flood or other natural disaster can be fixed, you may still be able to apply for the grant if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You occupied the property as your principal residence right before your absence
  • You plan to re-occupy the property as your principal residence once the reconstruction or repairs are finished
  • The property is vacant
  • The property isn’t for sale while you’re away
  • The property continues to be assessed and taxed as both land and improvements

You can apply for the grant for only the first two tax years of your absence, even if reconstruction and repairs take more than two years to complete.

If you don’t re-occupy the property as your principal residence once the reconstruction or repairs are finished, you’ll have to repay the home owner grants you received while you were away, with interest.

Moving Into a Residential Care Facility

If you move out of your principal residence to become a resident in a residential care facility, you may be able to apply for the grant for one more year if you meet all of the following requirements:

  • You received the home owner grant for the property last year
  • You occupied the property as your principal residence immediately before your move into the residential care facility
  • You’ve been living in a residential care facility from the date you left the property until the date you apply for the home owner grant
  • The property isn't rented or offered for rent (however, it may be for sale)

If you claim the grant for more than your first year as a resident in a residential care facility, you’ll have to repay the extra home owner grants you received, with interest.

Absent for Another Reason

You may still be able to apply for the grant if you’re away from your principal residence for another reason such as:

  • Medical
  • Travel
  • Work
  • Education
  • Home renovations

To qualify for the grant during your absence you must meet all of the following criteria:

  • You received the home owner grant for the property last year
  • You occupied the property as your principal residence right before your absence
  • You plan to re-occupy the property as your principal residence when you return
  • The property isn't for sale while you’re away
  • The property is vacant while you’re away, or is occupied  by your spouse or relative as their principal residence and they also occupied the property as their principal residence right before your absence
  • You aren’t absent due to incarceration

You can apply for the grant for the first two tax years of your absence.

If you don’t re-occupy the property as your principal residence by December 31st of the third tax year, you’ll have to repay the home owner grants you received while you were away, with interest.