The Empty Homes Tax will be applied annually, with the first tax year beginning on January 1, 2017.
Homes that are deemed empty will be subject to a tax of 1% of the property’s BC Assessment value.
Most homes will not be subject to the tax, as it does not apply to principal residences or homes rented on a long-term basis.
Net revenues from the Empty Homes Tax will be reinvested into City of Vancouver affordable housing initiatives.
Will your home be taxed?
Every owner of residential property will have to make a property status declaration for the 2017 calendar year. This will determine if the property is subject to the Empty Homes Tax.
In December, you will receive instructions outlining how to make this declaration, which will be due by February 2, 2018.
Most properties will not be subject to the Empty Homes Tax, including those:
- Used as a principal residence by the owner, his/her family member, or a friend for at least six months of the current year
- Rented for at least six months of the current year, in periods of 30 or more consecutive days
- Meeting the criteria for one of the permissible exemptions listed below:
Exemption Examples of acceptable evidence Your property was subject to strata rental regulations as of November 16, 2016, that restrict the number of units that may be rented, and the maximum allowable number of rentals has already been reached.
- Copy of strata bylaws
- Letter from strata council confirming the maximum number of units have been rented
Your property is not your principal residence, but you occupy it for at least 180 days of the year because you work in the City of Vancouver.
- Address of your principal residence
- Contact information for Vancouver employer
- Letter from Vancouver employer confirming full time employment status and required physical presence for purposes of work
Your property is undergoing major renovations, or is under construction or redevelopment and permits have been issued.
- Short description of renovation/redevelopment project
- Permit number
The registered owner is deceased and a grant of probate or administration of the estate is pending.
- Death certificate of registered owner
You or your tenant is receiving long-term, in-patient, medical or supportive care.
- Contact information for care facility
- Letter from care facility confirming you or your tenant is undergoing medical/supportive care
Legal ownership of the property changed during the year.
- Title search or certificate of title showing the date that title was transferred
The property’s use is limited to vehicle parking, or the shape, size, or other aspect of the property precludes the ability to construct a residential building.
- Land survey or legal description of parcel that clearly illustrates the limiting aspects of the property
Your property is under a court order prohibiting occupancy.
- Copy of the court order
Enforcement and Penalties
Property status declaration (for 2017): February 2, 2018
Empty Homes Tax payment: April 16, 2018
Unpaid tax added to property tax bill: December 31, 2018
Penalties and Fines
Failure to make a property status declaration will result in the home being deemed empty and subject to the tax. City of Vancouver may also impose a penalty and prosecute for fines.
Late and unpaid Empty Homes Taxes are subject to the same remedies for non-payment as property taxes, including:
- A late payment penalty of 5%
- Daily interest on arrears
- The tax sale process
False declarations will result in fines of up to $10,000 per day of the continuing offense, in addition to payment of the tax.
For more information regarding Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax, click here