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February 6, 2019, 12:19 pm

More Vancouver Homes Occupied, Initial 2018 Empty Homes Tax Statistics Show

City of Vancouver

VANCOUVER -  The number of Vancouver properties declared vacant in 2018 under the Empty Homes Tax program has gone down 15% from 2017, with the majority of previously empty homes having been returned to the rental market. 

“The year-over-year numbers are very encouraging,” said Mayor Kennedy Stewart. “The main objective of Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax is to influence property owners to put their empty properties on the rental market and the data shows that is happening.

Council has also asked staff to look at improvements to the administration of the Empty Homes Tax-including a possible increase in the tax rate-to make it even more effective in driving additional affordable housing to the market,” Stewart added.

15% fewer properties declared vacant

As of the February 4 declaration deadline, 922 properties were declared vacant in 2018, compared to 1,085 declared vacant by last year’s extended deadline of March 5, 2018, a 15% decrease.

Of those properties now declared occupied, the majority (53%) changed to being tenanted.

Penalties and fines

Properties that were declared vacant or deemed vacant by the City (if a declaration was not received by the deadline), will be issued a bill for one percent of the property’s 2018 assessed taxable value.

Empty Homes Tax payments are due by April 12, 2019. 

Late declarations 

This year, 97% of property owners made their property status declaration by the deadline. Starting February 7 property owners will have the option to make a late declaration online, after they pay a $250 penalty; instructions are being mailed to property owners.

The ability to make a late declaration is new for this year, and should help to streamline the complaints process.

Properties declared vacant

The geographic distribution of vacant properties in Vancouver in 2018 based on the declarations to date is similar to last year, with the largest concentration in the downtown area. 

The 2018 property status statistics will change as the City’s audit program continues, those who have yet to declare make their late declarations, and property owner appeals and complaints are received and resolved.

For more details about the 2017 declaration year, including the audit program, read the Empty Homes Tax annual report

Addressing the rental housing crisis

As part of the City’s Housing Vancouver Strategy, the Empty Homes Tax is one of the tools being used to address the city’s rental housing crisis.

Net revenues from the tax are also being reinvested into affordable housing initiatives in the city.

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