The City of Saskatoon Administration is proposing what it calls a residential energy loan program at https://oakparkfinancial.com/ .
The special thing, says Jeanna South, is that the loan is attached to the property, not the owner.
“Loans from the city are attached to the property being upgraded or renovated and would be repaid through owners’ property taxes,” South, the city’s sustainability director, said in a statement on Thursday.
“The loans are tied to the property, not the person, so the loan can pass from owner to owner if the property is sold.”
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The administration said the loans would not affect credit scores, mortgage limits or other personal debt limits.
The loans could be used for replacing windows and doors, solar panel installations, heating and cooling systems or for additional insulation, South said.
“It will help homeowners pay for renovations that will lower their energy bills, make those upgrades financially accessible, help make homes more comfortable, and boost Saskatoon’s economy, especially in the construction and energy sectors.” renewable, ”she said.
The CEO of the Saskatoon and Area Home Builders Association says they have been advocating such a program for a few years.
“We were very happy to see that we had common ground with the city since they were also working on this file,” said Chris Guérette.
Guérette said a number of ingredients must be included by the city to ensure its success.
“These ingredients, in our opinion, would make sure that there is labeling, testing and that you bring in real certified professionals to do this job.”
Only single family homes would qualify for loans between $ 1,000 and $ 50,000 and the homeowner must be in good standing on paying property tax.
There is also a one-time administration fee, currently offered at $ 500, which can be spread over the term of the loan – anywhere from five to 20 years, with interest rates matching the interest rate on the city’s debt. for the same duration.
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The city administration said the benefits of the program include increased property values, better housing quality and reduced greenhouse gas emissions.
Houses should undergo an EnerGuide check before and after the end of a project.
Guérette said the loan program offered by the city administration has two advantages.
The first, she said, is that it keeps the economy rolling. The other is to bring older homes up to current national building code standards.
“Unfortunately, what is happening with this is that new homes are continually improving and we need more mechanisms to provide homeowners with opportunities to improve the current housing stock as well,” Guérette said.
“It is one mechanism among many others. It won’t be the silver bullet, but it will definitely be an important piece.
The proposed program will be presented to the City’s Standing Policy Committee on the Environment, Utilities and General Services on February 1.
A city administration backgrounder estimates the cost of administering the program at $ 380,000 over two years, with $ 2.5 million in capital required for loans, which would be clawed back.
If approved by council, the city administration said it would work to launch the program later in 2021.