BUSINESS

Vancouver's Empty Home Tax Is On Its Way, City Warns Residents

Mayor Gregor Robertson says the city has to do everything it can to ease the housing crunch.

11/07/2017 15:54 EST | Updated 11/08/2017 10:27 EST
Rex Feature Ltd.
Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson at the C40 mayors' summit in Mexico City, Dec. 2016. Robertson is warning homeowners if they fail to declare their property status by Feb. 2, they will face the city's empty homes tax plus a $250 fine.

Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson is warning homeowners if they fail to declare their property status by Feb. 2, they will face the city's empty homes tax plus a $250 fine.

The tax is one per cent of a home's assessed value.

It affects any property that is not a principal residence and is not occupied for six months a year.

Robertson says property owners can expect to receive instructions in the mail starting this week on how to make their declarations.

Watch: Vancouver house prices are unaffordable for the middle class

He says there is a $10,000 fine for false declarations and the city is in the process of setting up an enforcement system that will include hiring staff in the new year.

The tax is the first of its kind in Canada and is aimed at freeing up as many as 20,000 units for rent as the city's vacancy rate hovers near zero.

Robertson says the city must do everything it can to ease the housing crunch, and it's also proceeding with a plan to open 600 new units of temporary modular housing for the homeless.

What's Going On In Housing?

Our weekly newsletter delivers the news and analysis you need on Canada's housing market. Sign up below and don't miss an issue.