City seeks feedback on proposed Vacant Unit Tax

OTTAWA – The city is looking for feedback from residents as it considers a residential Vacant Unit Tax, which would help the city fund more affordable housing.

“Go to to fill out the brief survey – it is quick and easy,” city staff released in a statement yesterday (Feb. 22). “The deadline is Wednesday, March 31.”

The Vacant Unit Tax is a secondary tax to the regular property tax. It would be applied to residential properties that remain vacant over an extended period.

“The tax would help motivate owners to place the vacant residences back on the market for rent or sale, preventing them from falling into disrepair or becoming derelict,” staff said. “The funds from this tax would also help to pay for the construction of more affordable homes. Affordable housing remains a key priority for the city to ensure our community remains equitable, inclusive and fiscally resilient. Vancouver has achieved successful results with its vacant residential tax. The City of Toronto is also considering the introduction of a similar tax for 2022.”

In December 2020, council put forward a motion to have city staff develop a feasibility report on the vacant unit tax, including public feedback. It will be presented to the Finance and Economic Development committee and council later this spring.