Mayor aims to ramp up and further strengthen Empty Homes Tax

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Brennagh Bailey
April 14, 2022

Vancouver, BC; April 12, 2022 — Mayor Stewart announced a plan to boost the Empty Homes Tax rate to 5 percent and increase compliance audits to continue fighting housing speculators and return more homes to locals.

"My move to triple the Empty Homes Tax is on pace to deliver more than $32 million for affordable housing while helping return more than 4,000 homes to locals," said Mayor Stewart. "But despite this success, we must do more to fight speculation and make sure we put local residents first.”

New preliminary data released Monday showed a decline in the number of vacant properties and a doubling of revenue on declared properties to fund affordable housing, thanks to the tripling of the tax rate to three percent – a key election promise delivered by Mayor Kennedy Stewart.

“We still have hundreds of homes declared vacant, and thousands more empty homes claiming exemptions,” said the Mayor. “While boosting the rate to five percent should get more empty homes occupied by residents, we must increase audits and inspections to  further clamp down on speculators.”

City of Vancouver staff performed 892 compliance audits in 2019 and 722 in 2020, with 5.5 percent found to be in non-compliance in 2019, the latest year with final numbers. 

By further strengthening the tax rate to five percent and doubling the number of audits, we will make it tougher for speculators and make sure housing in Vancouver works for all of us – not just the few.” said Stewart. “I expect unanimous support from council on this important step, as we must use every tool we have in our municipal toolkit to tackle our housing affordability crisis.

Mayor Kennedy Stewart’s motion will be debated during the next set of Council meetings April 26 and 27th.

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