Mayor Stewart Calls on Ken Sim and John Coupar to publicly back City Council’s move to boost empty home tax to five percent

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Brennagh Bailey
April 28, 2022

NPA and ABC party leaders long-standing promise to abolish tax concerns Mayor

Vancouver, BC; April 27, 2022 – Mayor Kennedy Stewart says the public needs to know where the leaders of the Non-Partisan Association (NPA) and A Beer City (ABC) municipal pares stand on the City of Vancouver’s recent decision to increase the empty homes tax from three to five percent to fight residential housing speculation.

“I’m pleased City Council unanimously supported my moon to increase the empty homes tax from three percent to five percent to end housing speculation and put even more homes back on the market for renters,” said Mayor Stewart. “And while I am grateful for the support of the NPA and ABC councilors who, until last night, had previously voiced opposition to the empty homes tax, I am still concerned the leaders of their municipal pares – NPA and ABC mayoral candidates John Coupar and Ken Sim – have not yet publicly reversed their long-standing promise to cancel the empty homes tax.”

“I urge the NPA and ABC leaders to make clear their views on the future of the empty homes tax,” said Mayor Stewart. “Are they still promising to cancel the empty homes tax, or would they now keep it at the new five percent level? Residents need to know where they stand.”

On Wednesday night, City Council voted unanimously to raise the 2023 empty homes tax from three to five percent and more than double the number of empty homes tax audits from 9,000 to 20,000. Council also asked staff to report back on ways to improve fairness so that those with legitimate reasons for having vacant homes are not penalized.

Since its introduction, the empty homes tax has dramatically reduced vacant homes. According to the Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, the tax has helped move more than 5,000 homes onto the market since coming into force in 2017, with tax revenues directed invested into affordable housing.

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