Empty homes tax to triple? Vancouver Mayor Kennedy Stewart files motion to ‘improve’ exaction

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      During the 2018 election campaign, then Vancouver mayoral aspirant Kennedy Stewart promised to triple the empty homes tax.

      “Homes need to be used for housing people, not sitting empty as speculative investments,” Stewart declared in his platform.

      The vacancy tax is currently one percent of the assessed value of property deemed empty.

      Now city mayor, Stewart has filed a motion on notice asking council to direct staff to come up with a plan to “review and improve the fairness and effectiveness” of the levy.

      “During the election, there was support for an increase in the EHT [empty homes tax] rate,” according to Stewart’s motion.

      The motion also seeks that such plan includes a “proposed timeline to provide information on the potential impact of increasing the Empty Homes Tax rate”.

      If the motion is approved by council, staff will report back with a plan by the end of March this year.

      The vacancy tax was instituted by the previous Vision Vancouver-led council.

      During its first year of implementation in 2018, a total of 2,538 properties were charged with the tax.

      The properties covered by the vacancy tax represent 1.3 percent of 186,043 properties across the city.

      Stewart’s motion on notice is included in the council agenda Tuesday (January 29).