Over at the Vancouver sun there’s an editorial by former BC supreme court justice Ian Pitfield proposing a rental vacancy tax.
This would be a tax that municipalities could impose to discourage vacant units held for speculation.
A vacancy tax would oblige a non-resident who beneficially owns housing accommodation in British Columbia, wherever the non-resident resides, to ensure that it is ordinarily occupied by the owner as a principal residence or available for rent at a competitive market rate. Failure to satisfy the requirements would result in liability for a vacancy tax equal to the monthly fair market rental value of the housing unit. The tax would be payable annually and not just at the time of purchase as is the case with the property purchase tax, or at the time of sale, as is the case with the income tax.A vacancy tax could increase the rental pool by some 15 per cent across the board, and by as much as 25 per cent or more in certain areas, if Mr. Yan’s estimate is correct. An increased supply of rental accommodation would also tend to put downward pressure on rents generally. The tax need not be seen as a bad thing by speculators. Avoiding the tax will produce income for the owner and offset the cost of owning and carrying the property in the course of speculation.
Read the full article here.