Empty Homes Tax rate will remain at three per cent for 2023
Vancouver City Council voted today to keep the Empty Homes Tax (EHT) rate at three per cent (3%) for 2023. City staff will also report back to Council on a graduated tax rate system for properties that remain vacant for multiple years.
Council approved nine new or amended exemptions to improve fairness and effectiveness of the EHT program. New exemptions include properties that are uninhabitable due to hazardous conditions or natural disasters, and residences occupied for medical treatment purposes. Other exemption changes include strata rental restriction, vacancy due to major renovation or redevelopment of properties and new housing units listed for sale by developers.
Additionally, owners may now file a late property status declaration up to five years from the vacancy reference year and upon payment of a late filing penalty. The effectiveness of the program and compliance will continue to be monitored.
Since its introduction in 2017, the EHT has been increased three times, from one per cent (1%) to one and a quarter per cent (1.25%) for 2020, and then to three per cent (3%) for 2021 and 2022. On April 27, 2022, Council approved an increase of the EHT to five per cent (5%) for 2023. Following engagement with stakeholders, housing experts and consultants from September 2022 to March 2023, staff recommended maintaining a three per cent (3%) rate to allow more time to monitor the impact of the three percent (3%) rate increase on the effectiveness of the tax.
The purpose of the EHT program is to encourage property owners to return empty or under-utilized properties as long-term homes for people who live and work in Vancouver and prevent additional properties from being vacant. The latest Empty Homes Tax Annual Report PDF file (421 KB) shows that the number of vacant homes is continuing to decrease year over year. In addition, $115.3 million in revenue collected from the tax has been allocated to support affordable housing initiatives.
For more information about the EHT program, visit vancouver.ca/eht.