Vancouver Finds Support for Vacancy Tax

by | Jul 18, 2016 | Rental Property Management Tips

tenant screeningAccording to a study conducted by the City of Vancouver, there are some 10,800 properties in the city — many of them condos — sitting vacant.

Meanwhile, residents are facing a housing crisis as the rental vacancy rate dips below one percent and home prices soar. As a result, Vancouver lawmakers are calling for a tax on those vacant condos and homes as an incentive for owners to place the properties into service, or fund more affordable housing options.

According to a news report, there are only 330 purpose built rental apartments available at any given time in Vancouver.

Next week, the B.C. legislature is expected to convene an emergency session in order to clear the way for the Vancouver proposal. Finance Minister de Jong has indicated that the province will amend its charter to provide a path forward. However, there are many details still to work out.

Vancouver had proposed two separate approaches for how the tax may work. In one scenario, the provincial government would create a new classification of vacant residential properties, and then adjust property taxes on these properties.

An alternative is to charge a new tax on “under-occupied” properties — those held as investments but not offered to local renters. That will not include properties owned by snowbirds or part-time residents. This option requires money for enforcement. It is not clear whether the city or the province would provide that funding.

According to the news report, B.C.’s Finance Minister is prepared to share data with the City of Vancouver, including utility usage, to locate potentially under-utilized or vacant properties.

The provincial legislature is slated to meet on July 25 to discuss the proposals.

This post is provided by Tenant Verification Service, Inc., helping landlords reduce the risks of renting with fraud prevention tools that include Tenant Screening, Tenant Background Checks, (U.S. and Canada), as well as Criminal Background Checks, and Eviction Reports (U.S. only).

Click Here to Receive Landlord Credit Reports.

Disclaimer: The information provided in this post in not intended to be construed as legal advice, nor should it be considered a substitute for obtaining individual legal counsel or consulting your local, state, federal or provincial tenancy laws.

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