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City of Vancouver considers increase in empty homes tax

By Carlito Pablo for Straight

Vancouver property owners with vacant homes may have to pay more taxes.

City hall is looking at the likelihood of increasing the empty homes tax.

The tax is currently one percent of the property’s assessed value.

According to a city staff report to council, the present rate may be low.

“Given the number of property owners that chose to pay the tax instead of renting their property, it is possible that the current tax rate is not enough of an incentive to rent,” the report notes.

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In last year’s election campaign, now Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart promised to triple the empty homes tax.

As mayor, Stewart successfully introduced a motion in January 2019 directing staff to come up with a plan to “review and improve the fairness and effectiveness” of the levy.

“During the election, there was support for an increase in the EHT [empty homes tax] rate,” Stewart’s motion stated.

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