What You Need To Know About Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax

March 28, 2018 | Published by

If you live in Vancouver or are considering investing here, you might have heard the buzz phrase “Empty Homes Tax”. Our real estate notary public knows how much this new tax has been discussed by property owners throughout the city.

As Vancouver is in the middle of a housing shortage, this tax, which was approved by city councillors in 2016, is to “encourage” owners to rent out their empty homes. Any property owner who fails to declare to the city that their home is occupied will be required to pay a tax of 1% of the property’s assessed taxable value, as well as a $250 fee.

To police the tax, the City of Vancouver has created an audit program to ensure compliance. If a home is selected for audit, the homeowner may be asked to provide evidence to support their declaration. A false declaration can result in fines of up to $10,000.00 per day in addition to the empty homes tax.

The City of Vancouver stated that approximately 98% of Vancouver homeowners submitted their declarations, but about 4,000 did not submit by the February 2, 2018 deadline. If the declarations are not submitted, the city will assume that the home is vacant by default, and the tax will apply.

The perception of this tax by Vancouver residents seems to be generally mixed. Vancouver mayor Gregor Robertson states that this tax is one of the most important tools the city has implemented to address the housing crisis. This is because the tax will strongly encourage anybody holding on to Vancouver homes simply for investment purposes, to bring it into the rental pool. However, there is the sentiment that if you purchase a property, you should have the freedom to do whatever you want with it. Vancouver is a very beautiful and safe city. Several of our out-of-town notary clients own homes in Vancouver to give them the flexibility of visiting whenever they desire, without having to stay in rental accommodation or a hotel. This is not uncommon in cities across the globe that have the kind of desirability that we have here.

If you have any questions regarding the empty homes tax or Vancouver real estate in general, please contact our real estate notary at 778-819-8553 or send our notary office a message below and we will get in touch shortly.