Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart has put his election promise of tripling the empty homes tax into motion.
Currently, the tax is one per cent of the assessed value of a property that has been deemed empty.
Stewart filed a motion of notice to be tabled next Tuesday, calling on staff to come up with a plan to review and improve the tax’s fairness and effectiveness.
The levy was introduced in late 2017 by then-mayor Gregor Robertson, in response to a tight rental market and concerns over the number of houses and apartments sitting empty.
In the first year of the tax, nearly 8,000 homes were found to be vacant, according to city documents. About 5,500 of those, or 67 per cent, qualified for exemption, which left about 2,500 charged with the tax.
Homes that are one’s principal residence or rented out for at least six months of the year are two of eight exemptions set out in the current law.
Homeowners have until Feb. 4 to declare vacancy in the program’s second year.
If the motion passes, city staff will report back to council by the end of March.