Empty Homes Tax UPDATE

The city of Vancouver passed a tax on vacant homes. This is one of a number of initiatives different levels of government are implementing to help ease the current housing challenges in the City. The summary below was taken from the City of Vancouver Website and offers some basic facts about the new tax. It is not meant to be exhaustive. For a complete view please visit
Homes that are deemed empty will be subject to a tax of 1% of the property’s assessed value. Most homes will not be subject to the tax, as it does not apply to principal residences or homes rented on a long-term basis. The Empty Homes Tax will come into effect in January 2017, but it will not be assessed and payable until 2018.

The purpose of the Empty Homes Tax is to:

  • • Return empty or under-utilized properties to use as long-term rental homes for people who live and work in Vancouver.
  • • Help relieve pressure on Vancouver’s rental housing market by making more homes available for rent as our city is facing a rental housing crisis, with the lowest rental vacancy rate and highest rental costs in Canada.

Will Your Home Be Taxed?

All owners of residential property in Vancouver will be required to make a property status declaration, which will determine if they are affected by the Empty Homes Tax. Most properties will not be subject to the Empty Homes Tax, including those:

  • • Being used as a principal residence by the owner or his/her family member. 
  • • Rented for a total of 180 days of the year, in periods of at least 30 consecutive days.
  • • Meeting the criteria for one of the permissible exemptions listed below.

What is a Principal Residence?

A principal residence is defined as: “… the usual place where an individual lives, makes his or her home and conducts his or her daily affairs, including, without limitation, paying bills and receiving mail, and is generally the residential address used on documentation related to billing, identification, taxation and insurance purposes, including, without limitation, income tax returns, Medical Services Plan documentation, driver’s licenses, personal identification, vehicle registration and utility bills.”

Permissible Exemptions

For your property to be eligible for an exemption, you must submit supporting evidence at the time of your property status declaration.


  • • Your home is being used for a minimum of six months of the year for work purposes within the City of Vancouver, but you claim your principal residence elsewhere.
  • • You or your tenant is receiving long-term, in-patient medical or supportive care.
  • • The owner is deceased and a grant of probate or administration is pending.
  • • The ownership of the property changed during the year.
  • • The property is undergoing major renovations, or is under construction or redevelopment and permits have been issued.
  • • The property was subject to strata rental restrictions as of November 16, 2016.
  • • The property is under a court order prohibiting occupancy.
  • • The property’s use is limited to vehicle parking, or the shape, size, or other aspect of the property precludes the ability to construct a residential building.
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