Property tax deferment and empty bedrooms

Peter Ladner over at the Vancouver Courier asks the question ‘why reward Vancouver seniors for staying in big empty houses‘?

The oldest of us will be 80 in 10 years, well past the time we needed all those bedrooms for our children, even the ones who stick around into their 30s. And we have lots of those bedrooms. Canadians have the most living space per person of any country in the world (2.5 rooms per person), according to Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development stats. I confess: I have two empty bedrooms in my home, even after converting the basement into a suite.

A decade ago, Urban Futures estimated that around 30 per cent of homes in Metro Vancouver had at least one unoccupied bedroom. That would be 220,000 empty bedrooms then, and many more in coming years as the boomer tsunami arrives. It would be interesting to calculate how many years we could go without building any new homes simply by filling up the ones we already have.

The opposing viewpoint says that asking people to pay their property tax is the same as kicking old people out of their homes, some calling Ladner ‘a disgusting human being’.  But as George points out is it really unfair to ask people who’ve benefitted from decades of rising property values to pay their share of the tax bill?

…Whenever young people cry about high housing prices in Vancouver, we’re told that’s the free market, suck it up, supply and demand, blah blah blah. It’s actually not a free market, it’s a highly distorted market, but that’s besides the point. If it’s good for the goose, it’s good for the gander. If young people in Vancouver are just supposed to accept being priced out due to the free market, then elderly people should have to accept the same thing. I am not saying I want to see elderly people displaced out of Vancouver. But Peter Ladner is right, it’s just not fair that elderly people sitting on massively overvalued homes get what amounts to a tax subsidy from the young, the very people priced out of the city.

What do you think? Are you against young families or the elderly?


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Bull! Bull! Bull!

living paycheck to paycheck is so romantic! *swoons!*


@Oracle – why? It would be every Caucasian male’s wet dream – no need to pay through the nose for an hour of time anymore. It will be an all you can eat wide selection buffet – Chinese, Korean, Japanese, Viet, Thai, Phillipino, Indian…. all probably prefer Caucasians over males of the same race (well, until maybe the guy wouldn’t buy a house, likes to be spend more than they make, and initial rose colored romance wore off).

What’s not to love for a Caucasian male? Heck, BPOM get even get lucky and get some…assuming he can tell the Asian groups apart from one another.


@Cooked HAM – Didn’t Canada sign a similar agreement a while ago to split any proceeds 50/50 with China?

As for extradite the criminals, good luck. Each one of them will be claiming that they will be executed if send back to China, as they should be, and our Supreme Court and charter of Rights will then prevent them from being extradited. They will be allowed to roam free in this country, while costing the taxpayer a few million in legals fees during the decade long legal fight.


@West Coast Woman – Why is the average person so damn stupid when it comes to finances and gov’t?

If their house hasn’t gone up a single cent, their property would still have gone up by pretty much the same amount. City services and employees don’t just pay themselves you know? And CoV isn’t running any big surplus either. The only thing that might have held back some tax increases is the sticker of getting a $10K property tax bill when your house is only $500K. Other than that, gov’t spending will keep going up, usually way about inflation & population growth, likely faster than your wage increase by a good margin.


– Seems more like they aren’t getting the usual piece of actions, than geniune concerns about the neighborhood. If they really cared then they would be arguing for more family friend housing options and more and cheaper housing, than empty homes that comprise of what 1% of total housing in the entire region that’s designed for the top 1% wealthy families?

Sounds like you are just like them. Mostly frustrated not because of geniune concern about housing for the masses but that just you can’t live in what you feel you are entilted to.

Well, guess what? You aren’t entitled to it. If you want it then work for it. Otherwise, shut the f up and stew in your misery in silence. You are the worst kind of loser out there.


@Best place on meth – At least they are mostly invisible, unlike the constant disgusting boil/open sores caused by the likes of you.


Damage to Chinatown murals linked to Vancouver housing affordability and anger at so-called “foreign buyers”


@71: “Westcoast woman: “In my view, the only reason foreigners are buying porfolios of residential properties is because they have not been subjected to the same tax laws that Canadian residents have been.””

Absolutely right. And right in the middle of a federal election, the only politician you mention is the one who doesn’t have the power to do anything about it.

So you can see why I might be a bit cynical about your posting?


Vancouver IS a predominantly Asian city now. Go to UBC, the airport, Metrotown and you will see.

There are 100,000’s of temps and students here with more to flood in.

In 20 years, you will reap what you have sowed. When Metro is 50%+ 1 Asian, then you will see what happens. Sure wouldn’t want to be Caucasian and living there.

Cooked HAM

News Flash: Jinping and Obama have just signed an agreement to prosecute all Chinese citizens who in the last seven years have bought real estate with corruption money. All sales in cash will be traced to the funds origination and verified as either legally obtained or illegally by corruption. If determined to be illegal, the U.S will prosecute the Chinese national(s) and they will be sent back to China for proceedings. All properties will be confiscated by the Department of Enforcement and sold at auction. Proceeds from the sale will go towards any claims on the money in China that are valid, minus costs here in the US to process and extradite the alleged criminals.


Westcoast woman: “In my view, the only reason foreigners are buying porfolios of residential properties is because they have not been subjected to the same tax laws that Canadian residents have been.” I’d say that the reasons foreigners are buying portfolios of vancouver properties are: 1) Low interest rates mean they find safe investments have a poor return 2) They’re frightened of a “pricey” stock market that is prone to violent corrections 3) Everyone they know who has made a property investment in vancouver has made out like a lottery winner – no losers in 15 years. 4) The city is beautiful in the areas they buy in, it’s civilized, and the environment is clean 5) They can live an entirely Chinese life here – Chinese professions, grocery stores, car dealerships, builders etc etc etc 6) there’s a sense that… Read more »


Westcoast Woman: On a personal level, our property taxes have gone up more than 250% over the past 7 years, but our income has not.

So if i understand correctly, you tax bill is 3.5 times higher than it was in 2008? That seems hard to believe i must say, though having never owned and paid property taxes in Vancouver i don’t have first hand knowledge.

I thought there was a mill rate and this was set to bring in a certain dollar amount from all properties combined. If property prices rose very significantly one year the mill rate may drop so as to bring in approximately the same total tax revenue as last year with maybe a 2-5% general increase for increase services etc. Am i wrong here?

West Coast Woman

Vangrl @66: Empty houses are a symptom of what’s going on in the single family neighbourhoods of Vancouver – massive dislocation and disruption because houses (or rather the land) have become an investment rather than a place to live. A generation ago, people bought homes to live in and didn’t expect to make a huge profit when they eventually sold their homes. Nowadays the real estate industry has conditioned people into believing that they should have multiple homes throughout their lives: a starter condo, a moving up townhouse, a single family house while the family is growing, a townhouse on the way down, and then “rightsizing” back to a small condo. The only winners in this scenario are those in the real estate industry and the provincial government who collects the PPT on all these purchases. In the olden days,people… Read more »

Shut It Down Already

Vangrl, there have been many “news articles” from realtors that try and trick locals into believing that foreigners will snap up the best inventory if they don’t act fast. I think there was one only a few weeks ago where they said that 30% of a downtown building was sold to foreigners.

You really trust that BS, eh?


Bravo to Peter Ladner.

This is one of the scared cows that must not be touched. A senior sitting in a 3000 sq foot $4 M dollar home will be ‘kicked out’ if they pay a reasonable tax? I don’t think so!

How about reverse mortgages if need be?

Also tax a home based on income needed to buy. Like they do in many countries. If you are paying income tax deduct it. If you are a scammer – nail them!


#51 Property tax deferral, for those that are eligible, should be done on a case to case basis. It may be that some get low rates, others higher rates, and some not accepted for the program at all. I agree with your points, it feels like that issue is the least of our problems right now. The missing taxes from one multi-million dollar property sale that’s flipped yet claimed as a principal residence, would make up for many of these locals property tax deferral costs. On another note.. I had a conversation today with a Realtor that lives and works on the West Side. Fed Up and frustrated with what’s going on, and questioning what can be done? This is someone that owns a house in a nice West Side neighbourhood and makes a living selling said homes. He said… Read more »

Best place on meth

Good god, yet another one.

For every one that’s caught there are a hundred that slip through.

These people are like a disease.


@57 And your quality of life is subsidized by virtue of being born in a country with exploitable resources buried underground. Maybe a foreign government should do something about that as well?


“British investors sitting on thousands of acres of land in West Vancouver”, Vancouver Sun “Lest anyone think it is only foreign investors from mainland China buying and holding land with no immediate development plans in a market starved for supply, think again. One of the longest-held chunks of land in B.C. history was purchased by a “syndicate of British capitalists” almost 85 years ago and is slowly being dribbled out onto the market.” “The company continues to hold more than 2,000 acres of land in exclusive West Vancouver, where some of Canada’s most expensive homes are built on sprawling terraces cut into the side of the North Shore mountains. British Pacific Properties has been sitting on this land since 1931 when, backed by money from the Guinness family of beer fame, it acquired 4,000 acres of land from Capilano… Read more »


“Yellen says she expects U.S. Fed to raise rates by year’s end”, CTV News

“Chair Janet Yellen said Thursday that she expects the Federal Reserve to begin raising interest rates from record lows by the end of the year.”

“In a lecture at the University of Massachusetts at Amherst, Yellen said she thought inflation would gradually move up to the Fed’s target rate of 2 per cent as unusually low oil prices and other factors prove temporary. And she suggested that global economic weakness won’t likely be significant enough to dissuade the Fed from raising its key short-term rate from zero by December.”


This blog has hit a fresh low…lots of tax deferral around like RRSP among others.


I thought the 65+ don’t qualify for homeowners grant if the house is over 1100000, no? In Vancouver at least must be hard now to get lower than that.


Looks like my blog is a majority conservative base!

We love Harper and misleading half the followers,


It’s a bit of a reach what Ladner is proposing. I think he’s talking about himself. For rich westside seniors with a giant home who cares? They’ll pay their city taxes and will sell when they want to. For seniors on the edge–it’ll tip them over it. Not to mention private property rights, you can’t force anyone to sell. So it won’t work.

West Coast Woman

StupidityCheck @54:

Thanks. I guess that’s the problem with living in an area that suddenly has become “hot” because of untaxed profits and so-called foreign investment.

Unfortunately, that one comment of mine(which of course Patrioz jumped on) seems to have resulted in people overlooking the elephant in the room: the fact that we are all subsidizing massively, through lax enforcement of the Income Tax Act, the money launderers and flippers who evade Canadian income taxes by claiming to be “non-resident for tax purposes” when it comes to their untaxed offshore income and the tax free profits they make from selling their newly built “principal residence”.