Victoria Coun. Jeremy Loveday.

Victoria takes steps to implement tax on vacant homes

Victoria could soon be following in the footsteps of Vancouver when it comes to implementing a tax on vacant properties in the city.

Victoria could soon be following in the footsteps of Vancouver when it comes to implementing a tax on vacant properties in the city.

Last week, the provincal government announced it will change the Vancouver Charter to give the City of Vancouver the power to implement a tax on empty homes, in an attempt to encourage more people to put their homes up for rent.

According to a report to Vancouver city council recently, the number of unoccupied housing units has grown from 8,400 in 2002 to 10,800 in 2014, which is attributed to growth in the overall housing stock. The results spurred Vancouver Mayor Gregor Robertson to call on the provincial government to allow the city to implement the tax.

In Victoria, councillors are hoping to implement a similar tax to increase the city’s rental stock.

Last week, council passed a motion to have Mayor Lisa Helps write Premier Christy Clark and the ministers of housing, finance, and community sport and cultural development to amend the community charter (that the City of Victoria is governed under) to enable municipalities across B.C. to implement a tax on vacant properties.

Coun. Jeremy Loveday, who put forward the motion, noted there are a number of condos that are being held as investments and derelict buildings that are boarded up, but couldn’t estimate the number of vacant units in the city.

“Housing is the biggest issue facing our community. We have a housing crisis with a 0.6 per cent vacancy rate. We need every possible tool at our disposal to be able to lessen the impact of such a low vacancy rate and make it easier for people to find a place to live in our city,” said Loveday, adding he’s already heard from councillors from other municipalities about writing similar letters to the government to receive the same authority as Vancouver to implement a tax if necessary.

“We will need some research and data to be able to make an informed decision on whether or not the City of Victoria wants to move forward with a tax like this and whether or not it’s in the best interest of the city.”

As part of the motion, staff will also collect data on the number of empty units in the city and are expected to report back to council at the next quarterly update.

 

 

Just Posted

Hundreds rally in support of horse carriages outside Victoria City Hall

Crowd angry with Coun. Ben Isitt’s motion to ban local horse carriage industry

Rifflandia Festival cancelled for 2019

Early Bird tickets can be refunded at point of purchase, or held and redeemed for 2020

Five-month bridge closure poses early impacts on drivers during rush hour

Construction began Tuesday on the crossing commonly known as the Bay Street bridge

New virgin queen headlines ‘Bee Day’ at Saanich sanctuary

Taste bee spit and check out the hive at Swan Lake Christmas Hill Nature Sanctuary this Sunday

Mom who lost son to brain tumour in March joins the 24th annual Brain Tumour Walk

The Brain Tumour Walk takes place at the University of Victoria on Sunday, May 26

VIDEO: Canadian, U.S. Coast guards run oil spill response drills

20 vessels were on the water to practice international response methods

Greater Victoria wanted list for the week of May 21

Greater Victoria Crime Stoppers is seeking the public’s help in locating the… Continue reading

POLL: Were you satisfied with the Game of Thrones series finale?

Millions gathered in front of their televisions Sunday night to watch the… Continue reading

Raptors beat Bucks 105-99 to move within 1 game of NBA Finals

Leonard scores 35 as Toronto takes 3-2 series lead over Milwaukee

B.C. Supreme Court dismisses review around ferry workers’ right to strike

B.C. Ferry and Marine Workers’ Union collective agreement expires November 2020

Young Victoria distillery earns prestigious Scotch awards

Scottish influences range from techniques to ‘kilted tours’ at award-winning business

Municipalities protest after B.C. declares marijuana crops ‘farm use’

UBCM president seeks answers in letter to John Horgan government

CMHC defends mortgage stress test changes amid calls for loosening rules

Uninsured borrowers must now show they could service their mortgage if rates rose two per cent

Brewpub offers ‘boat valet’ for paddlers during Surfrider celebration tonight

Free ‘Surf Formal’ evening features a local art auction, door prizes, live music

Most Read