A vacancy tax could be in the works for Victoria, requiring absentee property owners to pay for leaving their homes empty.
The Union of B.C. Municipalities passed a motion, lead by the City of Victoria, to ask the province to give municipalities the option to impose a vacancy tax similar to Vancouver’s Empty Home Tax that rolled out last November.
Coun. Ben Isitt, who put the motion forward with Coun. Jeremy Loveday, said he appreciated the support of local governments from across B.C. to demand the province take action against real estate speculation and commodity investment interfering with local housing supply.
“Vacant and derelict buildings have a negative impact on neighbourhoods,” he said. “We want these homes to be used for housing, not sitting empty.”
Isitt said a vacancy tax would use taxation to motivate property owners to move units back into the housing supply. The motion asks the provincial government to amend the Community Charter to give municipalities a choice of whether or not to bring in a vacancy tax.
Last year, the City of Vancouver approved the Empty Homes Tax — the first of its kind in Canada — to impose a 1 per cent tax on homes that are not a principal residence or rented out for at least six months of the year.