City of Vancouver introduces new Vacant Housing Tax

Gregor Robertson, the Mayor of Vancouver, and his council has approved a Vacant Housing tax, the first one the country has ever seen.

Despite the arguments and backlash over this tax, they are hoping that this tax will help combat the housing crisis in Vancouver. In the spring of 2015, CMHC released statistics showing that the vacancy rate for private structures with 3 or more apartments is 1.8%, a drastic 0.6% drop from 2014. Many citizens of Vancouver have complained about the low vacancy rates along with the steadily increasing monthly rent.

What does this new vacancy rate entail?

  • Homeowners will start paying this tax in 2018
  • Homeowners must self-report how their homes were used in 2017
  • The tax is 1% of the ASSESSED value, not market value
  • Staff will audit 3000 homes a year

There are also a few exemptions for some homeowners, such as

  1. Homeowners are not required to pay if the home is their primary residence (listed on their drivers license, tax forms, etc.) even if the home has been vacant for long periods in the year.
  2. For secondary residences, homeowners can be exempt from the tax if they can prove that they have rented it out or has family members living there for more than 6 months.
  3. Homeowners will also be exempt from the tax if they have already purchased a strata property where bylaws are in place restricting their ability to rent out the home.

Read more about this here.

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