Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program (SHARP)

The Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program (SHARP) provides low-interest home equity loans to help seniors finance necessary repairs, adaptations and renovations to their homes. A maximum loan of $40,000 is available to seniors and senior couples with an annual total income of $75,000 or less and who have a minimum of 25 per cent home equity in their primary residence.

How it works

If you qualify, the Alberta government will issue you a loan(s) for home repairs, adaptations and renovations. SHARP will register a caveat against your land title certificate to secure any loan you receive. You will re-pay the loan, with interest, when you move, sell the home or sooner if you wish. You are not required to make monthly re-payments.

As with any important financial decision, you may wish to consult with your family or a financial adviser to decide whether this program is right for you.

General eligibility

You may be eligible for a loan if you have income of $75,000 or less and are:

  • Age 65 or older (only one spouse/partner needs to be 65) and listed as a registered owner of a residential property in a Land Titles Office.
  • A Canadian citizen or have been lawfully admitted to Canada for permanent residence
  • An Alberta resident and have lived in Alberta for at least three months

Property qualifications

Your property may qualify for a loan if it is your primary residence, is registered with a land titles office and you have a fee simple or leasehold and it meets the following conditions:

  • Primary residence of the owner (where the owner ordinarily resides). Second homes, such as summer homes, rental properties and commercial properties, do not qualify.
  • Covered by home insurance at full replacement value.
  • Sufficient equity.

Mobile and manufactured homes on residential property owned by the senior may also qualify.

The residential portion of farmland or commercial property may be considered.

If you are a mobile homeowner and you do not own the land on which your mobile home resides, you will not be eligible to receive a loan. If you are lower-income, your application may be considered for a grant to cover some, or all, of the cost of your requested home repair (see SHARP grant).

Income eligibility

You may be eligible for a loan if your and your spouse/partner’s (if applicable) total combined income is less than $75,000 (single seniors and senior couples).

  • Line 150 of your 2016 income tax return is used to determine your eligibility. With your consent, your income will be collected directly from the Canada Revenue Agency.
  • Income information for other property owners is not required unless a spouse/partner of the applicant.

The following deductions from total income may be considered:

  • Adjustments for Pension Income Splitting
  • Registered Disability Savings Plan Income
  • Canada Pension Plan Death Benefit
  • Supplementary Accommodation Benefit (A supplement paid to seniors in long term care or designated supportive living; would be identified and deducted by Seniors and Housing.)

Equity

To qualify for a loan, you must maintain a minimum of 25 per cent equity in your primary residence after the loan amount is applied. This means that all charges registered against the land title of your primary residence, including the requested SHARP loan, cannot exceed 75 per cent of the property's assessed value. These charges may include the registered value of your mortgage, line of credit, and amount of the loan requested from SHARP.

Registered charges affecting eligibility for a loan

  • Any charges registered against your primary residence that may prevent you from being able to repay your loan must be removed from your land title certificate before you can qualify for a loan.
  • Some common examples of charges that may prevent you from being eligible for a loan are:
    • Certificate of lis pendens (pending litigation)
    • Reverse mortgage
    • Maintenance enforcement
    • Bankruptcy

Property assessed value

The property assessed value is based on the property tax assessment prepared by your municipality.

Calculate your equity:

Assessment value of your home$
Assessment value 0.75 =$A
Total charges (e.g. line(s) of credit, mortgage(s) and any other registered charges)$B
Amount of the loan you are applying for (cannot exceed $40,000)$C
Add Line B and Line C$D
To be eligible for a loanD MUST BE LESS THAN or EQUAL TO A

Examples of loan eligible home repairs, adaptations and renovations

The SHARP loan is intended to help seniors:

  • Remain independent in their homes.
  • Be safe in their homes.
  • Adapt and modify their homes to improve accessibility and mobility.
  • Improve the energy efficiency of their homes.

Examples of home repairs, adaptations and renovations eligible for the loan include but are not limited to:

Bathrooms/tubs
Electrical
Fencing
Furnace upgrades
Heating
Plumbing
Stair Lifts
Tree removal
Widening of doorways
Window Replacement

For additional examples, please review the SHARP Application Package.

You must provide a receipt or an estimate for all home repairs, adaptations and renovations you are applying for. You can provide documentation for home repairs, adaptations and renovations completed and/paid for within 12 months before the date SHARP receives your application form.

Loan limitations

The minimum loan amount that a household may request per application is $500. This amount may include any eligible home repairs, adaptations and renovations completed within the previous 12 months and the costs for multiple home repairs, adaptations or renovations can be combined toward the $500 minimum.

The maximum loan amount that a household may have outstanding for their primary residence is $40,000 (not including interest).

Accounting

If you applied with an estimate rather than a receipt, you will be asked to send in receipts showing that you purchased and paid for the home repairs, adaptations and renovations for which you received a loan.

Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program (SHARP) grant

If it is determined that you are ineligible for a loan (you have insufficient equity or are not a fee simple homeowner) and you are a single senior with annual income less than $27,300, or a senior couple with annual income less than $44,335, your application may be considered for a grant to help cover some basic and essential home repairs.

You will be contacted by the program during the review of your application and informed of any financial assistance for which you may be eligible. For more information about the SHARP grant click here.

Consumer information and right to cancel certain contracts

Before you hire a contractor, do your homework. (Click link to view Consumer Tips - Home Renovations)

Under this program you have cancellation rights if you sign a contract for home repairs, adaptations and renovations and it is determined you are not eligible for a loan. Services or materials agreed to in the contract cannot be accepted by you (for example, received or installed) before you are notified by the program that you are ineligible for a loan or you will lose your cancellation rights.

To enable your cancellation rights you must apply to SHARP within 45 days of the date you sign the contract. If you cancel a contract within 30 days of receiving notification from the program that you are ineligible for a loan, you are not required to begin or pay for the home repairs, adaptations and renovations agreed to in the contract and the contractor must refund any money you have paid to them under the contract within 15 days.

If you are eligible for a loan, you do not have cancellation rights under SHARP, but you may have other rights under the Fair Trading Act.

Apply

To apply for the Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program (SHARP):

Complete and sign the application form and agreement.

After you apply:

SHARP will review your application and may contact you or your contractor by phone for additional information. When your application is complete, you will receive written notification of your eligibility.

  • If a loan is approved, a caveat will be registered on your certificate of title in a land titles office.
  • Approved funds will be deposited into your bank account.
  • If you are issued a loan, you will receive semi-annual loan statements in April and October confirming the balance of your loan.

Survivorship

When an applicant who has a SHARP loan passes away, the full amount of the loan and any interest will become due. However, existing loans and eligibility to apply for future loans may continue for a surviving spouse/partner if the spouse/partner:

  • Is 55 years or older;
  • Is a registered owner of the primary residence;
  • Lived in the primary residence before their spouse/partner passed away; and
  • Continues to live in the primary residence.

Loan repayment

Monthly re-payments are not required. You can choose to repay the loan at any time, but it will automatically become due when:

  1. You sell your home;
  2. You are no longer a registered owner; or
  3. The home is no longer your primary residence.

You may choose to repay all or part of the loan and interest at any time without penalty. Payments toward the loan will apply to the interest first. Once the loan is repaid in full, the caveat will be discharged from the land title certificate.

If you are repaying all or part of your loan, make your cheque payable to the Government of Alberta and write your loan number on the cheque.

Mail your completed application form to:

Seniors Home Adaptation and Repair Program
P.O. Box 1050 STN Main
Edmonton, Alberta T5J 2M1

Contact Information

Call the Alberta Supports Contact Centre at 1-877-644-9992 or 780-644-9992 in Edmonton from 7:30 a.m. to 8 p.m., Monday to Friday if you have any questions.