Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax: Contract clauses

On January 1, 2017, the City of Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax (EHT) took effect. The tax targets the approximately 10,000 year-round empty and 10,000 under-occupied homes in Vancouver. Homes that are unoccupied for six or more full months of the year are subject to the new tax at a rate of one per cent of the property’s taxable assessed value in addition to the existing property tax.

The EHT is applied annually, with the first taxation year beginning January 1, 2017. The tax for 2017 is payable by April 2018. In December, each homeowner in Vancouver received a Property Status Declaration that must be completed and returned to the City on or before February 2, 2018. The City will review the form and determine whether the EHT applies. By the second week of March, tax notices will be sent to owners of properties that are impacted.

A home used as a principal residence by the owner, a family member or a friend for at least six months of the tax year is not subject to the EHT. Properties that are rented long term (with a written tenancy agreement), for at least 30 days in a row for a minimum of six months in total over the course of a year are also not subject to the EHT.

To accommodate the various scenarios and exemptions related to the tax, BCREA has made available 22 clauses for use in the Addendum to the Contract of Purchase and Sale. These clauses have been added to WEBForms®. They are also available on REALTOR Link®.

Also available on BCREA’s REALTOR Link® pages is A Guide to Vancouver’s Empty Homes Tax, which offers more details on how it applies.