Introduction to Employee Covenanted Properties in Whistler: Your Gateway to Affordable Living

Welcome to the world of employee covenanted properties in Whistler – a number of unique, affordable housing solutions for those dreaming of a life amidst the stunning vistas and vibrant community of this world-renowned resort town.

Whistler has wrestled with the issue of housing employees for decades, and over the years created numerous property types and rules intended to try to keep workforce housing affordable, and close to town, to varying degrees of success. Here we are going to discuss home ownership options and not the various rental properties that factor into Whistler’s housing strategies.

One of the options most people are aware of is the Whistler Housing Authority (WHA) Price Restricted properties. These homes are privately owned, and have a maximum resale price restriction, permitting the owners to sell with a price ceiling tied to a valuation formula. This formula varies by property and the era they were created, but most newer versions of this model use a form of Consumer Price Index calculation to determine the maximum resale price. Additionally, who is permitted to purchase these properties is vetted by the WHA, and opportunities are sold in priority order to those who have been on the waiting list the longest. Due to many factors, it can take many years for someone to move up the list and get an opportunity to purchase one of these homes that meets their criteria.

Many people don’t know that there are also properties outside of the WHA Price Restricted Properties that have employee occupancy covenants, but don’t necessarily have ownership restrictions nor a priority waitlist.

Understanding Employee Covenanted Properties: More Than Just a Home

Employee covenanted properties, a cornerstone of Whistler’s affordable housing strategy, are designed to keep local workers within the heart of the community. Let’s explore what sets these properties apart in the bustling Whistler real estate market.

While there are many different versions and variations, the core of each Employee Covenant is that the property MUST be occupied by a bona fide Whistler Employee, or person who retired from working in Whistler. This typically means that anyone can own these properties, but only an employee may live there. Therefore if a non- employee buys one, they must rent it to an employee. Similar to WHA price- restricted properties, the Resort Municipality of Whistler (RMOW) sends out an occupancy declaration each year for occupants to complete and confirm that the property is occupied by a Whistler employee (or retiree as the case may be).

Decoding the Covenants: Understanding Your Commitment

Each property carries on title a covenant outlining crucial rules like employment requirements and restrictions on rental usage. Familiarizing yourself with these covenants is key to a successful purchase.

Eligibility Criteria: Is an Employee Covenanted Property Right for You?

At the core of eligibility is your employment status in Whistler. Be it in the bustling hospitality sector or the tranquil wellness industry, your contribution to the local economy is what counts. Retirees will typically also qualify, but only if they retired from employment in Whistler. Each individual covenant may have it’s own specific criteria, thus when interested in a particular property it is important the you understand the implications of the specific covenant on title. I can help with this as your REALTOR®.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I no longer work in Whistler?

Employee covenanted properties are meant to house the Whistler workforce. If you are no longer employed in Whistler, you may be required to sell your property or to rent your property to an eligible Whistler employee. There may be a grace period.

Can I rent out my employee covenanted property?

Typically, these properties can be rented out long term to a Whistler employee. Each covenant is worded differently and this will depend on the specific covenant on title.

Are there any resale restrictions on these properties?

Yes, there are restrictions on resale, aimed at keeping the property within the employee housing market. These are not price restrictions, however.

Can I buy an employee covenanted property as a second home?

No, these properties are specifically for those who work in Whistler and are not available as secondary residences.

Want to view the available options as they come up for sale? Or to be in loop before one comes to market? Contact me below for access!

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