Vancouver makes headway on empty homes tax

Over half of affected homeowners have submitted declarations before next month's deadline

Vancouver makes headway on empty homes tax
With less than a month left before they’re due, some 103,000 Vancouver property owners have submitted empty home tax declarations, according to data from the city’s government. The figure represents over half (55%) of all those who are required to declare.

The government introduced the measure last year as it sought to boost rental supply and encourage proper use of housing. There are some 25,000 empty and under-occupied properties in the city.

Those who fail to declare by the 2 February deadline will have their properties deemed vacant and will be subject to the tax at a rate of 1% of the property’s 2017 assessed taxable value. The owners will also be fined $250 for the non-declaration.

“In the midst of this affordable housing crisis, Vancouver housing must be for homes first and investments second,” said Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson.

“With the Empty Homes Tax, we are encouraging the best use of all our housing and working to boost rental supply for people who live and work in Vancouver. With 45% of property owners still required to declare by February 2, we are urging all property owners to submit their declarations as soon as possible.”

A broad majority (93%) of those who have submitted declarations did so online, compared to those who preferred to use the phone (4%) or submit in person (3%).

According to the government, most homeowners will not be subject to the levy, as it does not apply to:
  • principal residences
  • properties rented for at least six months of the year
  • properties that are eligible for one of eight exemptions

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