Vancouver empty homes tax to help homeowners, renters

Vancouver’s empty homes tax will be used to help address housing supply issues for vulnerable and low-income renters; and help reduce costs for homeowners who want to build secondary or basement suites.

The City Council and Mayor have approved the proposed budget for 2019 which includes measures to tackle housing supply and affordability challenges in the city.

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Among the measures approved new investments to increase housing supply and affordability and improve availability and supports for renters and vulnerable citizens.

Some of the money raised from the empty homes tax will be used to help reduce the cost of permitting, licensing, and planning for residents wanting to create secondary or basement suites.

Property tax increase
The council also approved a property tax increase of 4.5%, a reduction from the 4.9% proposed tax rate in the draft budget, through reductions in the Innovation Fund and the Council Contingency.

Council staff were also requested to engage the Property Tax Policy Review Commission to explore a 2% property tax shift from commercial to non-commercial taxpayers, with the goal of supporting small business and retail.

"With limited sources of revenue, it's a real challenge for the City to find ways to address all of the issues that are important to our residents. Over the past several weeks we've listened to feedback and made adjustments in this approved budget which reflect what we heard. Now we can all look ahead to 2019 and getting to work building affordable housing, reducing homelessness, tackling the opioid crisis, and supporting small businesses," Mayor Kennedy Stewart said.

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