Frequently Asked Eligibility and Rental Questions for Rossland Yards

Frequently Asked Eligibility and Rental Questions:

see #17 for information on the units
 

1. Q. How do you define Qualified Business?

A. The full definition of a Qualified Rossland Business or self-employment is as follows:

a. Has a valid Rossland business licence, or be legislatively exempt (e.g. schools); and
b. Has an office or premises that are physically located in Rossland; and
c. The business must be a permitted use under City of Rossland bylaws; and
d. The business must have their operations directly related to the provision of goods and services within the City of Rossland.

The full definition of a Lower Columbia Region Business is as follows:

a. A business located in the municipalities of Fruitvale, Montrose, Rossland, Trail or Warfield or Electoral Areas A and B of the Regional District of Kootenay Boundary which:
b. Has a valid business licence, or be legislatively exempt (e.g. schools); and
c. Has an office or premises that are physically located in; and
d. The business must be a permitted use under the bylaws of their local community as stated above

Average weekly hours worked = total annual hours* worked divided by 50 weeks.

* Total annual hours worked is calculated by taking all jobs and contracts worked, minus any hours that are not for a Qualified Business.

2. Q. Why are there Income and Asset Limits?

A. Income and Asset limitations have been put in place to support the needs of the community and ensure those households with a genuine need for affordable rental housing have access to the available homes, and encourages those able to access the open market to do so.

3. Q. Are the Income Limits gross or net?

A. Income limits are based on your gross income (before taxes and other deductions).

4. Q. What is included in the Net Assets for a Household?

A. Net Assets are the total assets of all applicant(s) and adult occupants with whom you plan to live in your rental unit. Assets from secondary applicants and all occupants are included.

In order to be eligible your household assets must be less than $200,000.

Assets that are included for valuation are:

  • Stocks, bonds, term deposits, mutual funds and cash.
  • Real estate equity, net of debt.
  • Business equity in a private incorporated company, including GICs, cash, stocks, bonds or real estate equity.

Assets that are excluded from valuation are:

  • Personal effects such as vehicles, jewelry and furniture.
  • Bursaries or scholarships from educational institutions for any household member who is a current student.
  • Registered Education Savings Plans (RESPs), Registered Retirement Saving Plans (RRSPs), and Registered Disability Savings Plans (RDSPs.)
  • Trade and business tools essential to continue currently active employment, such as farm equipment, specialized tools and vehicles.
  • Assets derived from compensatory packages from government, for example Indian Residential School Settlements and Japanese Canadian Redress.

5. Q. What if my income or assets exceed the established limits?

A. When income or assets exceed the established limits, it is considered a reasonable amount of income or assets to warrant entering into the market housing rental inventory, and the applicant(s) is(are) no longer eligible to apply to, or occupy a LCAHS Rental Unit.

6. Q. What are the Occupancy Standards for renting a unit?

A. BC Housing Occupancy Standards specify the standards for household sizes relative to the number of bedrooms in a Residential Unit.

The following Occupancy Standards apply for LCAHS rentals:

  • No more than two (2) and no less than one (1) person per bedroom.
  • Spouses and couples share a bedroom.

These occupancy standards have the effect that a single applicant wishing to live alone, or a couple living together, would be eligible for a 1 bedroom unit only. A single parent of one child would qualify for a two bedroom unit. All occupants are required to be identified in the lease and meet all other eligibility requirements.

7. Q. On the application form, what is the difference between ‘Applicant’ and ‘Occupant’?

A. An Applicant is a person who is applying for housing and must meet all the eligibility criteria for the affordable workforce rental housing. In some cases, there might be co-applicants.

If you are a couple trying to decide who should be the applicant, keep in mind that the applicant must be eligible.

An Occupant is a person who lives in a rental unit. There can be a single occupant (who is the applicant) or more, for example, a household of four, two adults and two children are four occupants.

8. Q. How much will I pay for rent?

A. The amount you will pay for rent depends on the size of the unit. The anticipated range of rental rates are as follows:

Unit Rent
One (1) Bedroom Unit $1200
Two (2) Bedroom Unit $1600
Three (3) Bedroom Unit $1900

Be prepared to also pay for:

  • Security deposit – A mandatory security deposit equal to a half month’s rent is held by the landlord and will be returned when your tenancy ends, if there has been no damage to the unit;
  • Pet deposit – In units that allow pets, pet owners are required to pay a pet deposit equal to a half month’s rent. The deposit is held by the landlord and will be returned when your tenancy ends, if there is no damage to the unit;
  • Telecommunications – internet, telephone, television;
  • Utilities – electricity;
  • Tenant’s insurance (discounted insurance is available for tenants of this building);
  • Laundry.

Your rent may increase annually based on the allowable rental increase determined by the BC Residential Tenancy Branch.

9. Q. What happens if my employment, retirement status or household changes?

A. Tenants must advise the LCAHS immediately when there is an anticipated or actual change in their qualifying employment or household membership. Every year tenants are required to complete a declaration confirming that the information they have provided to the LCAHS is still current and true. Audits are undertaken to ensure true and accurate reporting of information.

Applicants who qualify as a recent retiree will retain their retiree status unless they return to the workforce.

Your tenancy will be renewed annually to confirm that you continue to meet eligibility and qualification requirements, and abide by the terms of your tenancy agreement.

Tenants who are determined to be ineligible for housing will be notified and required to terminate their tenancy and move out of their unit within three months.

10. Q. What happens if my income changes?

A. If your income fluctuates year to year the average of your income tax return over the past 2 years may be used so any changes will be reflected in this average. If your income increases significantly and exceeds the income limits, you must advise the LCAHS immediately. A review of your income will occur and you may become ineligible for LCAHS housing.

11. Q. Am I eligible for housing at Rossland Yards if I own real estate?

A. Yes. As long as your net assets do not exceed the maximum amount, you may own real estate assets. The maximum asset limit is $200,000, so any real estate value (net of debt) will need to be considered in this calculation.

Additional details on the types of real estate allowed and restrictions on ownership are as follows:

Applicants or their spouse may own Real Estate, either personally, jointly, or indirectly through business assets, including commercial real estate, so long as the net value of their total assets (either personally, jointly, or indirectly through business assets) including real estate holdings (inclusive of commercial or employee restricted housing), does not exceed the upper limit for net assets as established.

12. Q. If the program is intended to house employees of Rossland businesses that are not able to participate in the open market then why is real estate ownership allowed?

A. The eligibility criteria were created to not differentiate real estate ownership from other investments, such as stocks or GICs. Qualifying for the LCAHS rental inventory will be determined through a valuation of your Income and Assets. The amount of equity owned in real estate is included in the calculation. Pension plans, RRSPs and RESPs are not included as net worth.

While the program does accommodate some real estate ownership, the rental program asset and income limits have been established to balance the future opportunity for tenants to be able to transition into purchasing a home, while limiting income and asset levels that would most likely allow someone to be housed in the open market.

13. Q. Will my rent change during my tenancy?

A. Yes. Rental rates will be reviewed on an annual basis to determine any increases. Rental rate increases will be based on the annual allowable rent increase set by the BC Residential Tenancy Branch.

14. Q. I am a first time rental applicant. When will I be required to submit my income asset verification?

A. When you first apply and prior to being able to enter into a tenancy agreement you will be required to complete a detailed income and asset verification process. This verification process will be completed by the LCAHS. Once becoming a tenant of the LCAHS, a confirmation process will be held annually to declare and confirm household eligibility, income and assets.

15. Q. How do I know when a unit comes for rent and if I qualify?

A. When a unit is available for rent, notification will be sent to rental waitlist applicants, requesting their interest in the unit. This notification will confirm the rent. Generally speaking, priority will continue to be based on waitlist position. Before any tenancy agreement is signed, applicants will need to pass a financial verification process that includes a review of the household’s total income and assets.

16. Q. If I’m on the Rental Waitlist, am I guaranteed a rental unit?

A. No, LCAHS retains the right to determine to whom it does or does not rent. Applicants and LCAHS Rental Waitlist Members who meet eligibility and qualifications may be excluded from consideration for the LCAHS workforce housing, if any of the following apply:

  • Unsatisfactory tenancy history (based on landlord references, receipt of notices to end tenancies, or review of past tenancies in subsidized housing).
  • Providing false or fraudulent information.
  • Failure to provide documents as requested, or consent as needed to verify information provided and to determine eligibility.
  • Unable to demonstrate an ability to pay rent and/or failure to apply for and receive income from income programs, such as, but not limited to, the Ministry of Social Development or the Canada Pension Plan.
  • Debt to a subsidized housing provider in B.C.
  • Do not meet residency requirements.
  • Unable to live independently
  • Do not meet defined household groups
  • Deliberately worsened current housing situation.
  • Demonstration of unacceptable behaviours either in relation to a tenancy or in the community at large that may threaten the health, safety or right of peaceful enjoyment of a community by others.
  • If there is cause to believe that a household member is engaging in or has a history of criminal activity that may threaten the health, safety or right of peaceful enjoyment of the community by others, including the manufacturing or production of illegal drugs.

Note: Applicants who may be potentially excluded based on any of the above will be given an opportunity to provide additional information and/or documentation in support of their application to demonstrate suitability as a potential tenant. Each application and supporting documents shall be evaluated on its own merit.

Mandatory exclusion criteria

LCAHS will not accept applications from individuals or members of a household that have been convicted of or who have outstanding charges related to sexual interference with a child and/or possession of child pornography.

17. Q. What types of rental accommodations does Rossland Yards have?

A. Rossland Yards has 1, 2 and 3 bedroom units with large windows, full kitchens, balconies, air conditioning and in-suite or shared laundry. The building has an elevator. Rental units are located on the second, third and fourth floors. The ground floor has a large secured bike storage room and a bike wash area. Each unit has access to storage – either in the unit or in a storage room in the building. 

All accommodations are long-term rentals, with an initial minimum one year lease.

1 Bedroom units average 525 sqft (some are a bit bigger, some are a bit smaller)

There are two accessible 1 bedroom units

2 Bedroom units are average 725 sqft

3 Bedroom units are 910 sqft and have 2 bathrooms

18. Q. How long are the leases? Can I have a seasonal lease?

A. LCAHS does not offer seasonal leases. Leases start at a one-year (12 month) fixed-term lease, then continues on a month-to-month basis.

19. Q. How long would I need to wait for a unit to become available?

A. The anticipated occupancy of the building will be September 2023.

20. Q. How do I apply for Rossland Yards housing?

A. The first step is to check to see if you meet the eligibility requirements (see above). If you qualify, the next step is to complete an online application. The applications are administered on a first-come-first-served basis.

21. Q. Why does the application form ask for the housing situation and current rental rate of the applicant(s)?

A. Knowing the current rental rates of applicants helps inform us on the current market trends and applicant needs.

22. Q. What happens after I have submitted my application?

A. Applicants will be contacted and asked to participate in an application evaluation. The evaluation process includes:

  • Personal interviews;
  • Verification of information provided on your application (employment of you and any other occupants in the household);
  • Confidential verification of household income and assets, completed by the LCAHS;
  • Requesting your consent for completion of a Credit Check;
  • Completion of Reference Checks.

23. Q. Can I have a pet?

A. The LCAHS will consider applications from households with pre-existing pets (one dog or one cat, maximum weight of 9 kilos). No new pets are allowed. Certified guide dogs or service animals are permitted. A pet security deposit will be required.

24. Q. Can I smoke in my unit?

A. No. All LCAHS properties are non-smoking and non-vaping.

25. Q. Is there parking for my truck and trailer?

A. No. Commercial, recreational or oversized vehicles will not be permitted. Vehicles must meet certain conditions, including being licensed and in running order. It will be necessary to register your vehicle to obtain a parking space.