Vacant homes are often blamed for Vancouver’s housing woes, but nobody seems to know exactly how many there are around the city.
Vancouver city councilor Kerry Jang is hoping Vancouver’s Affordable Housing Agency can answer that question once and for all.
Jang says he often receives letters from community activists pointing out vacant homes around their neighborhood…but more often than not, these homes are not actually vacant.
“My house was mistakenly tagged by someone as an empty house. It was empty because we moved out for eight months to renovate it. They saw an Asian guy in a suit around there and they thought it was a realtor or foreign investor…well it was me checking up on my own property.
According to Jang, city council needs to define exactly what constitutes an empty house.
“People have too quickly blamed empty houses for Vancouver’s housing woes, they have too quickly blamed issues of ethnicity and foreign investors…And we don’t know the answer for that.”
Jang would like to see Vancouver’s Affordable Housing Agency use data from BC Hydro to provide more concrete information.
“How long does a house have to be vacant before you determine that it is actually vacant? And why is the other question. Renovations, the owners can’t decide what to do with the property, maybe they are waiting for permits…”
Listen to CKNW Reporter Janet Brown talk about more about vacant homes on the Sean Leslie show earlier today.