PATRICK JOHNSON (24HOURNEWS) Vancouver's new empty homes tax could soon find its first targets.
Homeowners who keep their principal residence outside Vancouver are being reminded by the city they have until July 1st to find renters for their property.
The city's tax targets properties left vacant at least six months per year and not used as a principal residence. The 2016 census found 25,000 empty homes in Vancouver.
Homes that aren't being used by their owners as a principal residence but are being rented out will be exempt from the tax.
“In a rental housing crisis, it’s unacceptable for so much housing to be treated as a commodity while people who live and work in Vancouver can’t find an affordable and secure place to live,” Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson said in the release. “Housing is for homes first, investments second. The Empty Homes Tax will help ensure the best use of all our housing, and boost long term rental supply by bringing thousands of homes back into the market.”
The release from the city notes there are many exemptions to the one per cent tax, which will be applied to property tax assessments at the end of the year. "Principal residences will not be charged the Empty Homes Tax, nor will properties that are rented long-term (with a tenancy agreement), or for at least 30 days in a row for a minimum of six months in aggregate over the course of a year," the city's statement read. "Most Vancouver homeowners, including snowbirds, will not be subject to the Empty Homes Tax."
The tax reinforces "the principle that housing used as a business will be taxed as such."
Owners are not able to declare their property's principal or non-principal residence status until December.
Funds raised by the tax will be applied to affordable housing projects, the city has said.
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