Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson has revealed the plan for an empty homes tax, while assuring most home owners they won’t have to pay it.
Properties undergoing renovations, or subject to existing restrictions are exempt.
So too are homeowners in medical care.
Otherwise, if your non-principal house is one of an estimated 20,000 empty or under-used in Vancouver, it will be taxed at 1% of its property value.
But Robertson says the goal is not about the revenue.
“First and foremost, the Empty Homes Tax is about boosting rental supply, and making sure that we increase the vacancy rate above above the record low of about 0.6%,” he said.
Back in September, city staff estimated the tax would rake in about $2-million a year, which would be used to fund affordable housing.
Robertson says the current housing shortage crisis isn’t just locking people out of a place to live.
“This empty homes crisis is changing the character of our neighborhoods. We have heard from many residents concerns about empty homes in their neighborhoods or their buildings, and how that erodes the strength of community,” he said.
The tax covers 2017-onwards and payment will be due in February the following year.