The City of Vancouver is striving hard to ensure that all residents are complying with its Empty Homes Tax.
Announced late last year, the Empty Homes Tax will charge homeowners for any dwellings left vacant for at least six months of the current year, in periods of 30 or more consecutive days.
The city hopes that owners of investment property will rent out their homes rather than pay the tax, potentially adding about 25,000 units to the rental market.
The deadline for homeowners to declare if their residence is vacant is February 2, and the city said it has sent out notices requesting that some property owners provide evidence to support their declaration.
Mayor Gregor Robertson said in a news release that the tax encourages the best use of all available housing in the city and will increase the rental supply for those who live and work in Vancouver.
Thus far, 55% of all property owners have completed their declaration forms, which will let the city know if their homes are occupied or empty. Those who don’t declare by the deadline will have their homes declared vacant and will be fined $250. They would have to pay the tax at the rate of 1% of the properties’ assessed taxable value.