The City of White Rock thinks cities should have that right so it’s looking for support for a proposed motion at the upcoming Union of B.C. Municipalities convention. White Rock is hoping the province will amend the Community Charter to allow municipalities to impose an annual vacancy tax on residential and commercial properties.
The City of Vancouver currently has that ability, imposing an annual empty home tax of one per cent of a residential property’s assessed value. Governed by its own charter, Vancouver implemented its vacancy tax a couple of years ago. In a letter to Delta council, White Rock Mayor Darryl Walker noted how Vancouver has already set a precedent through the Vancouver Charter and that similar changes can be implemented for the Community Charter. Municipalities under the Community Charter don’t have the authority to impose taxes or fees beyond basic taxes on property. “We believe that providing local governments this authority is one step closer towards addressing B.C.’s affordable housing crisis,” Walker wrote. He stated larger, expensive homes in his city are sitting empty, reinforcing the need for local governments to address the issue directly. Vancouver’s tax is the first of its kind in Canada and the city estimated it collected $38 million in the first year. Delta finance manager Vivian Koo told the Optimist the city’s finance department currently doesn’t have information on the number of Delta homes that are vacant. “The provincial speculation and vacancy tax is a different tax and targets foreign and domestic speculators and vacant homes in designated taxable regions in B.C. We have asked the province for information on the number of Delta homes that would be subject to this speculation tax but we have not heard back from the province,” Koo said.
Source: Delta Optimistic