Stiff fines ahead for property owners that don’t comply with new empty home tax requirements

Mayor Gregor Robertson and Patrice Impey

Vancouver residential property owners will be receiving instructions in the mail on how to make their Empty Homes Tax declaration throughout the month of November. These new requirements are a first at a time when many Vancouverites are feeling the pressures of rental shortage in one of the most expensive real-estate markets in the world.

Things you may want to know:

– Every owner of Class 1 Residential property in Vancouver is required to submit a property status declaration each year to determine if their property is subject to the Empty Homes Tax. Notifications are being mailed out throughout the month of November to more than 180,000 residential property owners.

– Homeowners who fail to declare by the due date of February 2, 2018, 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. They will also be fined a $250 penalty for non-declaration, as enacted by Council on October 31, 2017.

– All residential property owners must submit a declaration so the City can determine if the Empty Homes Tax applies to them. Most Vancouver homeowners will not be subject to the tax, as it does not apply to principal residences, properties rented for at least six months of the year, or properties that are eligible for one of eight exemptions.

– Homeowners who require assistance with making their declaration can call 3-1-1 for questions or visit City Hall during opening hours where staff will be available to walk them through the online declaration in person. Vancouver Public Library locations will also offer technical and information support for the online declaration process.

Standout quote from City of Vancouver Press Release:

“Vancouver renters are in crisis, with the rental vacancy rate hovering over zero for years,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The City will not sit on the sidelines as more than 25,000 empty and under-occupied properties hold back homes for people who live and work in Vancouver. Housing is for homes first, and as business and investments second – we need a tax on empty homes to encourage the best use of all our housing, and help boost our rental supply for locals.”

Go deeper by reading Mike Howell’s piece in the Vancouver Courier and this piece in the National Post.

Vancouver Weekly

Vancouver Weekly

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