Vancouver mayoral candidate Kennedy Stewart says he'll triple Empty Homes Tax if elected

Sep 11 2018, 4:28 am

Vancouver mayoral candidate Kennedy Stewart has announced he intends to triple Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax, if elected this fall.

As it stands now, all non-principal residences left unoccupied for at least six months of the year are subject to a 1% tax on the assessed value of the property, as of 2017.

“As your mayor, housing affordability will be my number one priority,” states Kennedy in an online post.

“We need to take tough measures to fight the speculation that is rampant in our city,” he adds. “This includes getting big money influence out of city hall and protecting our local housing market from global financial forces and speculators.”

Kennedy, who gave up his seat as NDP MP for Burnaby South to run in this year’s election, said that as part of his overall plan, he will also protect between one-third and one-half of all new homes from foreign speculation.

“Uncontrolled foreign capital investment has driven up housing prices in cities all around the world,” he writes. “I’ll make sure we’re building homes for local people and families, not foreign investors.”

In the first year of the new tax implementation, there 177,562 occupied residential properties (declared principal residence and declared tenanted), 8,481 unoccupied/under-utilized residential properties (declared vacant, declared exempt and undeclared/deemed vacant), and 2,132 undeclared residential properties found as a result of the process.

A total of 8,481 residential properties were declared or deemed to be unoccupied/under-utilized for more than 180 days in 2017.

This figure not only includes properties that were declared vacant, but also properties that claimed one of the various exemptions to the tax.

Vancouverites head to the polls on October 20.

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