Carriage houses are a trend in Kelowna right now. Many people are out there looking for great properties that can accommodate a carriage house for the purpose of providing rental income or, alternatively, a property with the potential of being subdivided or stratified so that part of the existing property can be sold either with or without a home on it. Although the process may seem, at least initially, fairly simple and straightforward, there are many intricacies with these plans including ensuring compliance with City as well as legal requirements. If not identified early, these hiccups can be problematic for those who purchase a particular property with a specific goal.
When searching for the ideal property with carriage house potential, prospective purchasers should be looking for properties with the appropriate zoning. For example, in Kelowna, many of the Urban Residential Zones (such as RU1c, RU2c, RU2hc, and RU6) permit a home owner to locate a carriage home on the property. Each of the zones, and each property for that matter, has its own specific requirements so a purchaser cannot simply assume that because a property is zoned RU6, a carriage house can be constructed. In each case, it is important to consult the City to get a sense of whether the proposed plan is realistic and, as well, what requirements might be put into place before the carriage home permit will be issued. The City of Kelowna has an online map viewing program that allows you to zoom in on a particular area of the City to get an idea of the zoning in that area as well as to obtain some basic information regarding the particular property of interest.
Subdividing or stratifying a property to create two or more lots from an existing lot requires that the owner make an application to the City and, again, that all requirements the City may have with respect to that particular property, are or can be met. Some of these requirements will be items such as setbacks and parking which are included in City bylaws, but there are frequently additional requirements that the City may have such as road dedications, required covenants, landscaping requirements, and improvements for the benefit of the City (such as sidewalks, etc.).
Where a purchaser is looking to purchase a property either for the purposes of constructing a carriage home, subdividing or stratifying, it is strongly recommended that the contract include specific provisions for the buyer to obtain information from the City and possibly even quotes with respect to the desired project. These requirements may differ slightly from deal to deal, but in each case, it is a very good idea to consult with the City (or other government body) early in the process. We also recommend that the buyer work with a highly experienced local Realtor and consult with their real estate lawyer early in the process with respect to the legal requirements involved in obtaining the desired result.
Contact me to discuss in more detail and to put together a plan.
For legal questions and inquiries contact Una Gabie from Touchstone Law Group LLP directly.
This information is general in nature only and may not apply to your specific situation. You should consult a lawyer before acting on any of this information. This information should not be considered as legal advice.