Tell Toronto City Council: Implement a vacant homes tax

Goal: 5,000

A vacant home tax could help cool Toronto’s housing market by quickly encouraging the transition of thousands of existing homes back into the rental supply.

Urge Toronto Council to implement a tax on vacant residential units.

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In August and September, 2017 Gen Squeeze & others participated in City of Toronto consultations on whether and how to implement a vacant homes tax. 

Right now, councillors are awaiting a report from City staff with recommendations on how the tax could work.

This measure could be a game changer that helps free up supply and rein in costs...

... But only if we make it loud and clear that residents support the tax.

There are several steps to go before a vacant home tax becomes reality, and we need to keep the pressure on.

A vacant home tax has the potential to quickly transition thousands of existing homes into the rental supply, and at no cost to the public purse. 

As part of the consultation phase, we suggested the following:

  • The rate of vacancy taxation be approximately the difference between residential and business property tax rates. 
  • A home would be considered vacant if not resided in for at least six months.
  • Short-term rentals of less than 30 consecutive days do not count toward the six months metric.
  • The City of Toronto adopt the range of exemptions from the six month requirement that have been created in Vancouver.
  • The tax be designed so that there is a mandatory declaration about the vacancy status from all units, as is now the practice in Vancouver.

Time and again, the GenSqueeze community has leapt into action to help pass bold legislation. 

We helped pass Vancouver’s vacant home tax last November. In the spring of 2017, we mobilized and played a key role in shaping the Ontario Government’s Fair Housing Plan, which included a measure that gives municipalities the power to implement a vacant home tax.

The Code Red housing crisis is complex and there are no silver bullet solutions, but a vacant home tax is a necessary and bold step toward a comprehensive solution.

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Tell Toronto City Council: Implement a vacant homes tax
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