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We want your opinion on actions to address empty homes

May 2 2016

Empty room

We're seeking public opinion on options to discourage empty homes in Vancouver and invite you to participate in a survey on possible government actions.

Following our study on empty homes in March 2016, which showed 10,800 homes in Vancouver left unoccupied for a year or more, we conducted research with local housing, real estate, and public policy experts into potential actions to decrease the number of empty homes. 

Our survey asks for your opinion on these actions, including:

  • Taxing short term investors
  • Prohibiting strata restrictions on rentals
  • Increasing property taxes for unoccupied homes

Take our empty homes survey now

Limited tools available

We have limited tools to discourage empty homes, so partnership and support from the BC government are critical to the next steps.

Public opinion about the need for action will be an important part of the request we present to senior government. Under the Vancouver Charter, the City does not have the power to mandate occupancy.

The online questionnaire launches today and is open for responses until May 16, 2016.

Learn more about housing and homelessness

Background

Responding to public concerns that empty homes could be impacting housing affordability and neighbourhood vibrancy, City of Vancouver staff presented the findings of a comprehensive study on unoccupied homes to Council on March 8, 2016.

The findings of the study, which looked at 225,000 homes in Vancouver, showed that:

  • The percentage of unoccupied homes has remained steady since 2002 – about 4.8% for all housing types.
  • Looking at data from 225,000 homes, a total of 10,800 homes were empty for a year or more.
  • Of all the empty homes identified, 90% were condos and apartments.
  • The percentage of empty single-family and duplex properties remains the same as 2002 at around 1%.
  • Census data shows that the percentage of empty apartment and condo units in Vancouver is about the same as other large Canadian cities.

View the full presentation on empty homes  (3 MB)

View the consultant report on empty homes  (1 MB)