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Empty Homes Tax declaration instructions are in the mail to Vancouver homeowners

November 7 2017

“The City will not sit on the sidelines as more than 25,000 empty and under-occupied properties hold back homes for people who live and work in Vancouver," says Mayor Gregor Robertson.

If you are a Vancouver residential property owner you can expect to receive instructions on how to make your Empty Homes Tax declaration in the mail with your advance property tax notice, starting this week.

What to do when you receive your notice

The notifications are being mailed in a phased approach throughout the month of November, and when you receive your notices you may:

  • Immediately file a declaration online
  • Come to City Hall for assistance
  • Call 3-1-1 with questions

How to submit a declaration

“Vancouver renters are in crisis, with the rental vacancy rate hovering over zero for years,” says Mayor Gregor Robertson. “The City will not sit on the sidelines as more than 25,000 empty and under-occupied properties hold back homes for people who live and work in Vancouver. Housing is for homes first, and as business and investments second – we need a tax on empty homes to encourage the best use of all our housing, and help boost our rental supply for locals.”

Every owner is required to submit a declaration

Every owner of Class 1 Residential property in Vancouver is required to submit a property status declaration each year to determine if their property is subject to the Empty Homes Tax. Notifications are being mailed out throughout the month of November to more than 180,000 residential property owners.

Declare by February 2, 2018

Homeowners who fail to declare by the due date of February 2, 2018, will have their properties deemed vacant and will be subject to the tax at a rate of 1% of the property’s 2017 assessed taxable value. They will also be fined a $250 penalty for non-declaration, as enacted by Council on October 31, 2017.

All residential property owners must submit a declaration so the City can determine if the Empty Homes Tax applies to them.

Most Vancouver homeowners will not be subject to the tax, as it does not apply to:

  • Principal residences
  • Properties rented for at least six months of the year
  • Properties that are eligible for one of eight exemptions

Learn more about the Empty Homes Tax

Get assistance with making your declaration

If you require assistance:

  • Call 3-1-1 for questions.
  • Visit City Hall during opening hours where staff will be available to walk you through your online declaration in person.
  • Vancouver Public Library locations will offer technical and information support for the online declaration process.

Steps Council has taken to tackle the housing crisis

The Empty Homes Tax is the latest in a series of steps Council has taken to tackle Vancouver’s housing crisis, such as:

  • Approving a record number of new rental homes to increase the supply of rentals for our residents, with more than 7,000 approved in the last five years
  • Proposing regulations for short-term rentals, like Airbnb, to increase the supply of secondary rentals suites in the city
  • With provincial funding of $66 million, opening 600 new units of temporary modular housing to address the immediate and urgent housing needs of homeless residents
  • Offering 20 sites of City-owned land worth $250 Million to senior governments to use for affordable housing
  • Opening of The BRice, Vancouver’s first-ever land trust, bringing 48 new protected affordable one-bedroom rental homes. 310 homes are still slated to be completed through the Land Trust