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Vancouver will triple empty homes tax for 2021

Last Updated Nov 25, 2020 at 5:09 pm PDT

FILE -- Homes are pictured in Vancouver, Tuesday, Apr. 16, 2019. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward

Vancouver's empty homes tax will be increasing next year to three per cent

According to the city, the number of vacant homes has dropped by 25 per cent since the tax was introduced

VANCOUVER (NEWS 1130) — Vancouver’s empty home tax will triple next year now that council has backed the mayor’s proposed change.

City council voted Wednesday morning to implement the increase to three per cent for the 2021 tax year after Mayor Kennedy Stewart put the idea forward to encourage owners of vacant homes to place them on the rental market.

“This groundbreaking tool has helped move thousands of homes back onto the rental market to help house our neighbours, but there are still too many homes that remain empty. By tripling the tax from one to three per cent since the tax launched, we’re sending an even stronger message that homes are for people, not speculation.”

RELATED: ‘Renters are back in these units’: Vancouver mayor says empty homes tax working

The rate of 1.25 per cent will stay the same for the 2020 tax year.

The newly announced increase is the second one since the empty homes tax was launched in 2017. Last time, the rate increased by 0.25 per cent.

According to the City of Vancouver, $61.3 million of net revenues from the tax have been used to support affordable housing projects in the community so far.

The number of vacant properties has dropped by 25 per cent.

Failing to declare a home deemed vacant could result in a $250 bylaw fine.