British Columbia now allows rental properties on farmland

Victoria-

The province is easing restrictions on secondary housing options on properties located in British Columbia’s Agricultural Land Reserve (ALR), which is land zoned specifically for agriculture as a primary purpose.

Previously, small secondary homes were only permitted on ALR land for use by owners or immediate family members.

Now, second homes can be used as rental property, for worker accommodation, agritourism or for extended family members, depending on the province.

In addition, these secondary residences no longer have to receive approval from the Agricultural Land Commission before being built. However, they still need to get approval from local governments or First Nations before construction begins.

“Our government’s goal from the start has been to protect farmland for future generations, so British Columbians can have a secure local food system and our communities can thrive,” Minister Lana Popham said Monday. of Agriculture, Food and Fisheries.

“We recognize the unique needs of established farming families, those new to farming, and those living in the ALR who are not farming,” she said.

Second homes can take a variety of forms, including garden suites, guest houses, units above an existing building, or the construction of a new principal residence if the previous principal residence was a manufactured home.

The maximum secondary residence size depends on the size of the property, and the size of the primary residence, depending on the province.

The province says farm families can continue to request multiple large residences if they are needed for farming purposes.

The provincial government says it has eased restrictions on housing on ALR lands based on feedback from regional engagement sessions and ALR landowners.

“I am delighted with this rule change, which supports farmers living on the land they manage, especially when affordable housing is so scarce and buying farmland is nearly impossible for new farmers,” said said Katie Underwood, owner of Peas n’ Carrots Farm. in Saanich, in a statement Monday.

“As a farmer who does not live on her farm, living there would strengthen my connection to the land, create peace of mind, especially on windy nights, and encourage me to rest more often,” said she declared.

The new ALR rules come into force on December 31, 2021.

Amalia H. Mercado