Website could be in the works to identify vacant homes in Vancouver

WATCH: Despite having a high demand for property, Vancouver has a problem with vacant homes. And as Ted Chernecki reports, the push is on to find out exactly how big the problem is.

VANCOUVER – The City of Vancouver is planning to crack down on the growing issue of vacant homes. A website could soon be developed where people can report empty homes.

Staff is recommending the development of a website to report these dwellings, but it is still unclear if the City of Vancouver is going to do anything with this information.

In a memo to Mayor and Council, chief housing officer Mukhtar Latif states there “is significant public interest in the issue of homes being left vacant given affordability challenges across the housing continuum and very low rental vacancy rates together with the potential impact on vibrancy of neighbourhoods.”

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The city has had difficulty in identifying how many single family homes are vacant and the reasons why. It is hoping to work with BC Hydro and the information from the website to source these homes.

WATCH: City councillor Geoff Meggs joined Global News to discuss the vacant home website 

There are a number of reasons for properties to be left vacant, including development, being in the process to be sold or rented, domestic and international investment, and the owners being on sabbatical or travelling abroad for an extended period of time, to name a few.

The two most recent studies done on vacant homes in Vancouver show 6.7 per cent of apartment dwellings are unoccupied (6.2 per cent in metro overall and 7 per cent across all Canadian metro areas). This information is from the 2011 Census.

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A 2009 BC Hydro study found five to eight per cent of downtown condos are “dark”, with little or no power use.

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