Kamloops is a great place to invest in real estate. Low vacancy rates and lower home prices than other markets like Kelowna, Victoria, and the Greater Vancouver area make Kamloops an attractive choice for investors looking to purchase a rental property.
The Canada Mortgage Housing Corporation’s 2021 rental market survey put the vacancy rate in Kamloops at 0.9. With a steadily growing city and university the rental market will likely remain strong in Kamloops.
But what kind of rental properties exist for investors? Let’s break it down.
Homes with Legal Suites
Homes with legal secondary suites are relatively few and far between compared to those with non-conforming suites in the City of Kamloops but more and more are being built this way. A legal suite means that it was constructed inline with BC Building Code requirements under a building permit and has been inspected and received an occupancy permit. The greatest concentrations of homes with legal suites are in newer homes in the Juniper West, Aberdeen, and Sun Rivers neighbourhoods. There are also others sprinkled throughout the city. The City of Kamloops maintains a registry of legal suites which can be viewed online.
Homes with Non-Conforming Suites
Non-confirming (or in-law) suites are by far the most common type of secondary suite in Kamloops. Most of the homes listed for sale as having a suite are not legal suites but are instead non-conforming. They are commonly referred to as a ‘basement’ or ‘in-law’ suite. This means they were not constructed under permit and may not even be in a neighbourhood which is zoned for secondary suites. Even if a suite is built in an area where the zoning permits secondary suites it does mean that the suite is legal. Many investors purchase homes with non-conforming secondary suites as rental properties. This does come with increased risk as compared to those homes with legal suites. As not constructed under permit, the City of Kamloops could enforce compliance or removal of the secondary suite if a complaint was received regarding the unauthorized accommodation.
Full duplexes can be found throughout the city with the majority of those being in the North Kamloops, Westsyde, and Brocklehurst areas. These are excellent investments which feature two independent side by side units. These units are popular with renters as noise transfer can be less than usually occurs between upper and lower floors in many non-conforming suites. A full duplex can also feature separate side by side yards meaning a possible higher rental income due to the outdoor space available to a tenant.
Three-plex and Fourplex
A three-plex and fourplex is a building that features three and four separate residential suites. These are most often found in the areas of Downtown (South Kamloops), Westsyde, North Kamloops, and Brocklehurst. A legal three or fourplex is a rare find in Kamloops. More often they are non-conforming meaning they are a duplex which has been converted to add a secondary suite on one or each side of the building creating three or four separate residential suites.
What about Short-Term Rentals in Kamloops?
Short term rentals are largely unregulated in the City of Kamloops. With lower tourism numbers and lower numbers of short-term rental units than other jurisdictions in BC, short term rentals haven’t been a problem in the city. Because of this, the city of Kamloops has not created tighter regulations. Many strata complexes within Kamloops adopted bans on short term rentals within their own bylaws. In other strata developments short-term rentals haven’t been addressed simply because they have yet to be a problem. However future bylaw changes could be put in place to restrict short-term rentals if approved by the strata. If you are looking to invest in a property with the intention of renting it on a short term basis, a freehold single family home is your safest bet.
Outside of the City of Kamloops in the Thompson Nicola Regional District short term rentals are highly controlled and require a temporary use permit.
Sun Peaks also tightly controls short term rentals and has its own set of rules. Here short term rentals are only allowed if the property is zoned for tourist accommodation (R1-A or RS-1A) or if the owners have a temporary use permit. Owners must also have a business license from the Sun Peaks Resort Municipality. Recent changes to the rules around short term rentals are detailed by Sun Peaks Independent News here.
New Government Legislation Removes Rental Restrictions
The BC Government recently announced that all strata rental restrictions other than short term rental restrictions have been removed. This means that buildings which previously banned or limited the number of units which could be rented will now allow rentals. In Kamloops this opens even more possibilities for investors to purchase potential rental properties. Of note, numerous strata complexes near Thompson Rivers University which previously banned or limited rentals will now allow rentals creating new opportunities for investment near the university.
So, if you are thinking of investing in a rental property there is no time like the present and our city is a great place to do so. Contact Us to find out more about buying a rental property in beautiful Kamloops, BC.
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