“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.
Each class 1 residential property owner is required to complete the declaration annually, with the deadline this time set for February 2, 2018.
Penalties for non-filing include an assumption that their property is vacant which means a tax of 1% of its 2017 assessed taxable value; plus a $250 fine for non-declaration.
The tax does not apply to principal residences, properties rented for at least 6 months of the year in periods of 30 or more consecutive days, or those that are subject to one of eight exemptions.
The exemptions include: occupancy for full-time work (min. 180 days in the year); owner in care; estate of deceased; transfer of property; undergoing redevelopment or major renovations; strata rental restriction; court order; or limited use residential property.
“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,” added Mayor Robertson.
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Owners of residential properties in Vancouver are beginning to receive their advance property tax notices with an added extra – information on how to make an empty home tax declaration.