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Enforcement and penalties

Empty Homes Tax due dates

Empty Homes Tax payment for 2017: 
April 16, 2018

Notice of Complaint for 2017:
April 16, 2018

Unpaid tax added to property tax bill: December 31, 2018

Declaration for 2018: February 4, 2019

Every owner of residential property is required to make a property status declaration each year to determine if the property is vacant and subject to the Empty Homes Tax.

Homes that are deemed vacant will be charged a tax of 1% of the property’s assessed taxable value.

Your property will be deemed vacant and subject to the tax, and you will be charged a $250 penalty, if you fail to make a declaration by the due date. 

 The Empty Homes Tax is also known as the Vacancy Tax and is imposed under the Vacancy Tax Bylaw No. 11674.

Penalties and fines

Failure to make a property status declaration by the due date will result in:

  • A $250.00 penalty for being in contravention of section 5.2 of the Vacancy Tax ByLaw  (183 KB)
  • The property being deemed vacant and subject to a tax of 1% of the property’s assessed taxable value

Late and unpaid Empty Homes Taxes are subject to the same penalties for non-payment as property taxes, including:

  • A late payment penalty of 5%
  • Daily interest on arrears
  • The tax sale process

False property status declarations may result in fines of up to $10,000 per day of the continuing offense, in addition to payment of the tax.

Audit process

Property status declarations may be subject to an audit process, in line with best practices for provincial and federal tax programs. 

If your property is selected for an audit, you will be asked to provide evidence in support of your declaration. ( This documentation is not required at the time of declaration and will only be requested if the property is selected for audit.)

 Audit evidence must be relevant for the applicable reference period (January 1 – December 31).

Types of evidence that can be submitted in support of a declaration include (but are not limited to):

  • ICBC vehicle insurance and registration
  • Government-issued personal identification, including, driver’s licence, BCID card, and British Columbia Services Card
  • Medical Services Plan invoice
  • Income tax returns and notices of assessment
  • Employment contracts, pay statements, or records of employment
  • Insurance certificates for homeowner's(s') insurance

 If the occupant's personal information is not registered to the property's address, they could fail an audit, and the property could then be subject to the tax.

To declare that your property is rented, it must be occupied by a tenant for at least six months of the current year. This requirement can be met through either:

  • A long-term lease (minimum of six months in duration); or,
  • A combination of rental periods, each lasting 30 or more consecutive days, for a total of at least six months of tenancy

Types of evidence that can be submitted in support of a declaration include (but are not limited to):

  • Tenancy agreement(s)
  • Bank statements showing reoccurring rental income
  • Insurance certificates for tenants insurance
  • Information from a long-term tenant proving occupancy
  • Income tax returns or notices of assessment stating rental income

Types of evidence that can be submitted in support of a declaration include (but are not limited to):

Exemption type Exemption details

Examples of acceptable evidence

Occupancy for full-time work

Your property was not your principal residence, but you occupied it for at least 180 days of the year because you worked in 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

Owner in care

Your property was unoccupied for more than 180 days because you or your tenant was undergoing medical care or is residing in a hospital, long term, or supportive care facility.

  • Contact information for care facility
  • Letter from care facility confirming you or your tenant is undergoing medical/ supportive care

Estate of deceased

The property was unoccupied for more than 180 days because the registered owner is deceased and a grant of probate or administration of the estate was pending.

  • Death certificate of registered owner

Transfer of property

The property title was transferred during the year.

  • Title search or certificate of title showing the date that title was transferred

Undergoing redevelopment or major renovations

Your property was unoccupied for more than 180 days because:

  • The property was undergoing redevelopment or major renovations where permits:
    • had been issued and were being carried out diligently and without delay, or
    • were under review for redevelopment of vacant land or the conservation of heritage property.
  • Or, the property is vacant and part of a phased development which has:
    • A rezoning application under review
    • Approved rezoning with permits under review
    • Approved rezoning where construction has commenced
  • Short description of renovation/ redevelopment project

  • Permit number

Strata rental restriction

Your property was unoccupied for more than 180 days because it was subject to a strata rental bylaw as of November 16, 2016:

  • that prohibited rentals or restricted the number of units that may be rented, and
  • the maximum allowable number of rentals had already been reached.
  • Copy of strata bylaws
  • Letter from strata council confirming the maximum number of units have been rented

Court order

Your property was unoccupied for more than 180 days because the property was under one of the following:

  • A court order
  • Court proceedings
  • An order of a governmental authority prohibiting occupancy
  • Copy of the court order

Limited use residential property

Your property was unoccupied for more than 180 days because the use of the property was limited to one of the following:

  • Vehicle parking
  • A result of the size, shape, or other inherent limitation of the parcel, a residential building could not be constructed
  • Land survey or legal description of parcel that clearly illustrates the limiting aspects of the property

Submit a Notice of Complaint

Submit a Notice of Complaint for 2017 by April 16, 2018, or the date indicated on any supplementary tax notice.

Submit a request for review

Submit a request for review for 2017 if you have submitted a Notice of Complaint.

Pay bylaw notice

Review and pay your Vacancy Tax (Empty Homes Tax) bylaw notice online, or pay by phone or in person.

Dispute bylaw notice

Make an informed decision. What you need to know before you dispute a Vacancy Tax (Empty Homes Tax) bylaw notice.

Questions about the Empty Homes Tax?

Read our FAQ

Submit a Notice of Complaint Pay bylaw noticeDispute bylaw notice