The city of Vancouver has floated the idea of an ’empty home tax’ to help encourage the availability of rental supply. Today is the last day they will take feedback online for this idea.
If you have ideas for or against an empty home tax now is the time to have your input. What should be taxed and what should be exempt?
Best Place on Meth points out a rather obvious loophole and asks how it would be dealt with. Will there be baseline expectations for what is or isn’t market rent?
What’s to stop these owners from listing it for rent at some outrageous price that nobody will pay and then claiming they did try to rent it out?
What do you think – is the idea of an empty home tax a good or bad approach to Vancouvers housing problems?
Housing Action for Local Taxpayers (HALT) is a group of Vancouverites whose goal is to pressure government to take action on local housing affordability.
HALT wrote in to let everyone at VCI know they are holding a rally at the Vancouver Art Gallery this Saturday Sept 17th at 2pm.
They have a great line up of speakers including Christine Duhaime the Vancouver lawyer focused money laundering.
More information can be found on their Facebook page.
Here’s some info from their comment yesterday:
Specifically we are calling on Government to:
– HALT money laundering and tax fraud by individuals hiding their money in our housing market
– HALT Immigrant Investor Programs that bring in owners who do not contribute to our income tax base
– HALT corporate donations to political parties. For too long, our governments have served moneyed interests and not the interests of the citizens of our city and our province
– HALT AirBnB of our rental stock. We need regulations in place to protect our renters
– HALT demolitions of affordable rentals that are being replaced by unaffordable luxury condos marketed to offshore buyers
We’ve got a great panel of speakers lined up including:
– Christine Duhaime, a lawyer heavily involved in catching foreign money launderers in Vancouver
– Josh Gordon, Assistant Professor, School of Public Policy, Simon Fraser University, who has done extensive research on the impact of foreign capital on our housing market
– Dr. Darren Joneson, whose housing story we featured on our Facebook page
– Caroline Adderson, author of the book “Vancouver Vanishes” owner of FB community of the same name, will talk about demolitions of heritage homes, zoning and how we create density in a liveable, sustainable city
– Paul Kershaw, founder of Generation Squeeze, who will talk about the the challenges millenials face in getting into the housing market and Gen Squeeze’s “Homes First” policy.
Please come out, stand up, be counted, and let our government officials know that enough is enough!
Thanks for your support,
The HALT Team
You can find more info on their Facebook page and at haltvancouver.org.
The Globe and Mail has an article on the rise of ‘mom and pop’ landlords – people that rent out portions of their homes to be able to afford their mortgage.
Online classified sites are filling with posts from pilots, lawyers, construction workers and people doing all kinds of other jobs who have tacked on being a landlord as an extra way to help cover their mortgage costs.
With cities such as Vancouver and Toronto struggling to cope with a housing-affordability crisis, many people are choosing to rent out secondary suites in, or attached to, their homes as they try to keep a handle on outrageous property prices.
The rapidly increasing cost of real estate, particularly in the Vancouver region, has rippled into the rental market, pushing vacancies near zero while causing rates to increase. At the same time, the number of units outside of purpose-built rental buildings has been steadily escalating.
The article goes on the examine some of the issues with bad tenants, bad landlords and the perceived lack of rights for both groups. Read the full article here.
The BC Court of Appeal has upheld the right of a strata corporation to limit rentals in a condo building.
The ruling on Friday states that the strata council of Hycroft Towers in Vancouver’s South Granville neighbourhood can restrict its owners from renting out their suites – without explaining why – because anyone who feels they have been treated unfairly can take their case to the B.C. Supreme Court.
The dismissal of the appeal reinforces the right of strata councils to stop rentals in their buildings, a tactic that experts say might be creating more pressure on the region’s extremely tight rental market.
The case centred around a family that began renting out one of the three units they owned at Hycroft Towers last September – despite an earlier rejection of their application to expand the rental pool in the building by the strata council.
The family argued that, under the province’s strata laws, the council must also provide the criteria by which it grants permission for owners to rent their units.
However, Justice Gregory James Fitch ruled that it is “difficult to imagine that an acceptable screening criteria for administering the rent restriction cap [such as the ‘needs-based’ system proposed by the appellants] could be devised that would comply with [provincial law].”
Ah, condo ownership, where you get all the bills without the hassle of all the control.
Read the full article in the Globe and Mail.
On a side note, we’ve disabled the inline image rendering in comments. We made it a surprisingly long time before it degenerated into out of control garbage and it was nice to be able to see the occasional graph rendered in a comment, but clearly you people can’t be trusted.
It used to be that most parents would provide their kids with food and shelter until they left high school. Some would stick around home while attending higher education, but most would move out on their own and start taking responsibility for themselves.
Then a funny thing happened in the economy. Stuff changed. Incomes declined while the cost of living went up.
For the first time in modern history 18-34 year olds in the US are more likely living with their parents than on their own, with roommates or with a romantic partner.
A big reason is a decline in economic opportunities. As the cost of living has escalated and wages have stagnated, young people face mounting student debt and daunting barriers to renting or owning a home, creating obstacles to cohabitation and marriage.
The trend is led by young men, whose fortunes have been declining since the 1960s. While they have always lived with their parents in greater numbers than young women, this setup became the dominant living arrangement for them in 2009. In 2014 35 percent of young men lived with parents, while only 28 percent lived with a spouse or partner (for young women, the percentages are flipped: 29 and 35, respectively).
read the full article here.