The government of British Columbia has agreed to support Vancouver’s plan to impose a ‘vacancy tax’ on any home or condo unused for at least a year. The plan is aimed at increasing the supply of rental homes in the vicinity amidst growing housing concerns.
Only the owners of the lots are required to pay the taxes as the city is close to taxing a little over ten thousand empty homes. In the words of Vancouver’s finance minister, Mike de Jong, “It is about trying to increase the supply of rental accommodation” and the plan is on the brink of fruition after being originally proposed by Mayor Gregor Robertson back in June.
Mayor Gregor Robertson has stated the city plans to impose the tax by next year and will consult the public and housing specialists to determine the rate of the tax. Whilst most owners might feel a little disgruntled about the tax being implemented, potential renters in the city will be delighted to have prospectively more housing options at their disposal. Another positive aspect is that the tax could boost Vancouver’s rental vacancy rate by three percent. Housing experts claim that a healthy rental vacancy rate lies between 3-5 percent. Vancouver’s rental vacancy rate currently sits at 0.6 percent.
Despite the fact that Vancouver does not officially need the backing of British Columbia to impose this tax, the provincial government has given its support anyway which further legitimizes the city’s course of action. The House is set to meet on the 25th of July to pass legislation which will give Vancouver statutory right to implement and administer Mayor Gregor Robertson’s vacancy tax.