Posted Nov 15, 2016 6:48 am PST
Last Updated Nov 15, 2016 at 8:28 am PST
VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) – In a move intended to free up rental housing, Vancouver city council appears set to approve a vacant homes tax today.
If you own property, you’ll be asked to fill out a form. And if you aren’t living in it as your primary residence or renting it out to somebody else, you’ll be slapped with a 1 per cent annual tax on its assessed value.
“First and foremost, the empty homes tax is about boosting rental supply,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “Making sure that we increase the vacancy rate above a record low of 0.6 [per cent].”
Last week, the city’s chief financial officer Patrice Impey outlined how enforcement would work. “We’ll have a process that will both be random as well as criteria where we’ll select owners’ declarations to be audited and we’ll be asking them to provide evidence of audit,” said Impey.
Homeowners won’t have to adapt immediately — if approved as expected, the new law kicks in March 2018.
Those who are caught flouting the law face a fine of up to $10,000.
This comes after a city-commissioned study found 11,000 homes were empty for 12 months or longer, 90 per cent of which were condos.