This is how Vancouver will spend its $8 million in revenue from the Empty Homes Tax

Jun 21 2018, 9:04 pm

After ‘crowdsourcing’ ideas earlier this year on how it should spend its net revenue from the Empty Homes Tax (EHT), Vancouver City Council approved today spending measures that will go largely towards building new co-op and non-profit housing and upgrades to low-income housing.

The municipal government projects it will collect $30 million in revenue from the new tax based on 1% of the assessed taxable value of the property, and to date $18 million has been collected.

But when the $10 million in startup and operational costs of administering the EHT are accounted for, the city only currently has a net revenue gain of $8 million.

According to a release, this is how the initial revenues from the EHT will be spent:

  • $3.175 million: Land and resources for more affordable co-op and non-profit housing.
  • $1 million: Grants for more affordable co-op and non-profit housing, specifically to update and improve existing co-ops and build new co-ops.
  • $3.5 million: Improvements to low-income housing. Contribute to purchase buildings and/or provide assistance toward improved living conditions in private SRO housing.
  • $100,000: Support for renters facing eviction.
  • $75,000: Funding for the Vancouver Rent Bank to support vulnerable renters.
  • $100,000: Funding for skills training in peer support, affordable housing management, and asset training for residents of supportive housing. ‘Temporary Modular College’ – temporary modular housing with on-site peer-based mentorship programming.
  • $50,000: Matching empty/underutilized homes and rooms with renters looking for housing. Shared housing models like senior and student housing arrangements.

In April, the city said 183,911 declarations were submitted, which accounts for 98.85% of all residential properties. About 8,500 properties were designated as unoccupied or underutilized, with 1,200 declared vacant by the owner, 2,100 failing to declare, and 5,200 properties declared exempt from the EHT.

Properties for which an Empty Homes Tax declaration was not received by the due date have been deemed vacant and property owners will be charged a $250 penalty.

Late or unpaid payments are also subject to a 5% penalty. If a payment is not submitted by December 31, 2018, the Empty Homes Tax will be added to the homeowner’s property tax account.

Any unpaid balance on the tax account after the due date will result in a 5% penalty being charged. Interest is also charged on the balance owing after the first year.

At the end of three years, if the taxes are still outstanding, the property is publicly auctioned at a tax sale to recover the taxes owing.

With files from Eric Zimmer

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