Vancouver’s empty homes tax will have clearer requirements for property owners for three of its exemptions following a vote by the City Council.

The three approved changes, which will be effective for the 2019 tax year once the updated bylaw is enacted, are:

  • The exemption for death of an owner could be used in the year of death and the year following; this aligns with the provincial Speculation and Vacancy Tax rules
  • The exemption for property transfer will be tied to proof of payment of the property transfer tax; this also aligns with the provincial Speculation and Vacancy Tax rules
  • The exemption for a rental property will require proof of an arm’s-length tenancy agreement under the Residential Tenancy Act, which will prevent situations where a property appears rented through a separate entity/corporation but is in fact vacant

The changes followed feedback from property owners.

In addition to the changes that have been approved, City staff will be exploring a potential change to help owners who are unintentionally impacted by the Empty Homes Tax.

They will also consider the results of the provincial government’s review of money laundering in real estate and how that could apply to the EHT.

And there will be a review of whether an incentive-based program, perhaps including property tax rebates, would encourage more rental properties.


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