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City of Vancouver to provide ‘support and information’ for property owners hit with empty homes tax

Vancouver has voted to implement a one per cent tax on empty homes.
Vancouver has voted to implement a one per cent tax on empty homes. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

The City of Vancouver announced its plans to help property owners who will be hit by the recently introduced empty homes tax.

As property owners begin to receive notifications of the new tax, the city says it will be offering support and information to the owners of empty and underutilized homes who wish to become landlords. It is partnering with Landlord BC that supports owners who want to become landlords though education, tools and operational advice.

LandlordBC has created a webpage specifically for Vancouver homeowners who are interested in becoming landlords, offering resources like proprietary forms, a credit check platform, a legislative help line and educational events.

The one per cent tax is expected to go into effect in 2017.

READ MORE: Full coverage of the empty homes tax 

The tax will target secondary properties used as a business holding that could potentially be in the rental market. A principal residence by owner, tenant or licensee will not be subject to the empty homes tax.

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The secondary residences have to be unoccupied for six full months of the year or more.

It will be up to the owners to declare their principal residence to the city.

Ten thousand dollars is the maximum fine the city can impose under its charter for violators who don’t declare their properties, but it will consider a combination of the fine plus a higher tax rate for people who fail to self-declare or fraudulently declare.

The city estimates there are more than 10,000 year-round empty homes and roughly 10,000 more “under-occupied” homes in Vancouver.

The empty homes tax will be the first in Canada and it is estimated it could generate two million dollars in revenue. It’s expected to help tackle the city’s rental housing crisis.

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