Everything “multigenerational” is trending it seems, and even politicians are jumping on the band wagon.

There’s a new tax benefit available for your 2023 tax return called the Multigenerational Home Renovation Tax Credit (MHRTC).

Adding a suite

If you are adding a “secondary unit” to your home so that a relative or caregiver can move in to help a senior, or a parent can move into in to your home to get assistance, you make it more affordable by claiming the MHRTC, according to the website, Everything Zoomer. 

To qualify for this credit, the secondary suite must have the following features:

If you did this kind of work in 2023, get your receipts ready to file because you can claim up to $50,000 of the renovation cost as a tax credit. In return you’ll get a tax credit of 15% even if you don’t owe any tax.  

Now $7,500 is not likely to encourage you to run out and hire a renovator.  Average renovations run in the range of $600 per square foot in Toronto. So even a modest 650-square-foot secondary suite could be $400,000ish.

Tax credits expand project

However, if a renovator is quoting on the secondary suite and you want to make the rest of your home more accessible with items such as:

then adding these into the project may get the additional work done at a more affordable additional cost.

These upgrades are made more attractive by a couple of tax credits that have been around for a while: the Home Accessibility Tax Credit (HATC) and the Disability Tax Credit (DTC).  Like the MHRTC, the amount involved seem relatively small at face value.

However, the tax expert quoted by Everything Zoomer had some interesting advice about these taxes that could make it worth pursuing them.

Double dipping

Tax tips for making multigenerational housing more affordable including claiming tax credits

Gerry Vittoratos, a Montreal-based expert for the tax preparation software company UFILE, told Everything Zoomer that the DTC can be retroactive if you undergo the eligibility assessment process, and you have suffered from the disability up to 10 years. So, if you’ve had tax owing at any point in the last decade, the government will pay you the DTC refund in one lump sum. Depending on your tax situation, the DTC could be worth $1,500 to $2,500 for each year of disability.

If you have qualified for the DTC you also can qualify for the HATC, and Vittoratos says the beauty of that credit is that you can “double dip” – your renovation expenses may also qualify as a medical expense, and you can claim for both on your tax return. 

As a new builder whose FlexPlex building is perfect for multigenerational living and creating up to three additional suites in a home, I am curious how these tax credits can be used in my next building.  If you know, let me know!

Meet the family behind Greenbilt Homes

Dad and Mike talk about Greenbilt Homes

Mike Manning’s father is an engineer who built things.  Mike says the apple doesn’t fall too far from the tree.

Mike turned his fascination with building into a profession that’s also a family business.

He completed a 3-year diploma in architectural technology at Algonquin College and began working in condo development in Calgary.  Soon he was working on the development site more than at the drafting table.

Mike eventually repositioned his career to work in commercial construction. The pinnacle was joining the team that built Toronto’s Scotia Plaza.

In the 1990s, Mike formed his Toronto residential construction company and that’s when he started a long professional association with his brother Stephen Manning, who today has his own homebuilding company in Ottawa. 

Stephen and his son Tyler pinch-hit for Mike on his biggest and most important jobs, including the FlexPlex.

We value their great contributions to the company.

Greenbilt Homes

Mike’s son Riley supported his dad’s vision to focus on sustainable construction. Riley told his friends’ parents that his dad was a green builder and eventually a parent called Mike up to ask about his services.  That was the nudge behind renaming the company Greenbilt Homes in the mid-2000s,

Mike’s wife Catherine joined the company to do R&D on green buildings. They still talk business strategy over breakfast after all these years. 

Back in the day, the kids chipped in by delivering flyers. As Eric, Riley and Alana got older they also helped with digital media. They continue to be involved in important ways even as they pursue their own careers today.

Even the extended family is involved. Mike’s cousin Heather Manning of Firefly Designs is our interior designer.

As you’d expect, Mom and Dad are always a listening ear on business matters. Dad weighs in using the practical experience of an engineer.

In some ways, running the business can be tough on the family. But when it comes to building a business based on passion, nothing beats our family affair.

Nestled in one of the Greater Toronto Area’s leafy neighborhoods is the FlexPlex home. This innovative model home is designed to inspire multigenerational living, accommodating the growing trend of extended families living under one roof.

The Rise of Multi-Generational Living

Recent research has uncovered a noteworthy trend that’s gaining momentum in Toronto – multigenerational living. This phenomenon, which has seen substantial growth in the United States over the last five decades, is driven by the shared challenges of housing affordability. As Toronto grapples with housing costs, this trend is likely to persist, thanks to the financial benefits it offers.

The research also highlighted that, in addition to financial considerations, family caregiving plays a pivotal role in the choice of multigenerational living. Contrary to the assumption that multigenerational living might be stressful, the research reveals that more than half of adults find it to be a mostly or always rewarding experience. As someone who recently shared their household with their daughter’s family for a month, I’d bet that nearly 100% of children would support living with doting grandparents.

Embracing best practices in “multigen” living is increasingly crucial in Toronto, as it offers a promising solution to housing affordability, as well as addressing the needs of both elders and childcare.

Financial Benefits of Owning a FlexPlex Home

When the financial burden of securing a down payment or qualifying for a mortgage becomes too heavy to bear independently, it’s time to join forces with your family. A significant aspect of the affordability of owning a FlexPlex home comes from the idea of it being your “forever home.” This concept helps you avoid costly realtor fees, high property purchase taxes, and the potential HST for each move you didn’t make.

What’s more, the City of Toronto is making it easier for multigenerational living by eliminating development charges on the construction of duplexes, triplexes, and fourplexes while increasing them for condos. These development charge savings make the triplex an appealing alternative for today’s homebuyers.

Don’ts of Successful Multigenerational Living
#1 DON’T – Try to Accommodate Every Family Member in Every Meal

Provide families with the opportunity to have as many kitchens as they desire. In a FlexPlex home, you can strike a balance between interaction and privacy, making multigenerational living comfortable for everyone. Whether you prefer a traditional, interactive single-family home with up to four kitchens or separate units for each family group, FlexPlex offers the flexibility to adapt your space to your needs.

Consider the future – as family dynamics evolve, you can downsize within the FlexPlex by easily converting part of your space into rental accommodation. And when the grandkids arrive, you can “flex” back into a multigenerational home. With private bathrooms for every bedroom, independent heating, cooling, and soundproofing on each floor, reconfiguring the home is a breeze.

#2 DON’T – Give Your Adult Kids Unsolicited Child Rearing Advice

The last thing you want to hear as a parent is, “I don’t want to hear it!” Offering unsolicited parenting advice is a definite DON’T in the realm of multigenerational living. My recent experience with my Vancouver-based daughter and her family living with us for a month emphasized the importance of respecting boundaries.

The Benefits of Multi-Generational Living – A Real-Life Story

Let’s take a moment to delve into the benefits of multigenerational living through a heartwarming story. Meet Zack and Jesse, a young couple with an aging bungalow. They decided it was time to upgrade their living conditions to accommodate their growing family. Simultaneously, Jesse’s parents, who lived in the original family home, were looking to downsize.

Their solution? A multigenerational legal duplex, where each family has an individual unit, allowing three generations to coexist harmoniously. Greenbilt Homes had the honour of building their home. The result? Seven years into it, they have a happier and more spacious living arrangement, while also saving on purchase taxes and realtor fees.

Are you ready to unlock the potential of multigenerational living? Reach out to us to learn more about how a FlexPlex – either a three-storey fourplex version or a two-story triplex or duplex – can shape your family’s future. Your dream of a more affordable and connected living space is just an email away!

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