Helping Consumers Understand Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax
Beginning in December 2017, all owners of residential property in Vancouver will have to make a property status declaration for the 2017 calendar year, to determine if they will be subject to the Empty Homes Tax.
If a residence was empty or under-utilized in 2017, according to the Vancouver Vacancy Tax Bylaw, the owners must pay a tax of 1% of the assessed value of the property, unless they qualify under certain exemptions.
To help property owners determine if the tax will apply to them, the City of Vancouver has developed a simple online questionnaire: Does the Empty Homes Tax Apply to You?
Homes that will be subject to the tax include:
- secondary homes or investment properties that are unoccupied for more than 180 days in the year, and
- homes that are empty for more than 180 days in the year while listed for sale or rent.
The tax will not apply to empty secondary suites, laneway homes or leasehold properties as long as at least one dwelling on the property is occupied for at least 6 months of the year.
There are a number of exemptions, including for:
- homes that were bought or sold during the year
- homes whose owners are deceased and a grant of probate is pending, and
- homes that were unoccupied because of renovations or redevelopment.
The City of Vancouver will audit the property status declarations, and can require owners to provide evidence to support their declarations. Anyone who makes a false property status declaration may be fined up to $10,000 per day of the continuing offense.
Details on the Empty Homes Tax, including common property scenarios, exemptions and enforcement and penalties, are available on the City of Vancouver website.