Big Loopholes in Vancouver's Empty Homes Tax

Want to avoid Vancouver’s Empty Home Tax?
Find the right strata.

The extended empty home reporting deadline is approaching.
There's been plenty of advertising. But did you know EHT specifically exempts condos where strata rules restrict rentals?

That's a pretty big loophole.

The City's own report on the EHT surveying empty homeowners found that 22% of them cited strata rental restrictions as the reason for not renting out their non-owner occupied homes.

Empty strata-restricted condos are not an insignificant per cent of our housing stock. A 2009 City-commissioned study found more than 60% of strata corporations restricted or prohibited rentals.

In a city with detached home sales slowing and record growth in non-resident owned condos (in 2017 reported over 20% of new condos); even with new provincial measures, will the EHT meet the objective of having homes people live in?


Originally posted on Facebook

A follow up question asked "What do you think of the fact that stratas are even allowed to restrict rentals?"

My response: Ultimately that's a governance decision up to the individual strata. HOWEVER, I'm leaning toward the idea that "corporate personhood" needs to be applied here. If a strata corporation chooses to prohibit/restrict rentals then they should pay the EHT as a strata (as opposed to the individual owner alone).

Strata are considered corporations under the Strata Act. Thus things like banking and borrowing to finance repairs or leaky condos are tied to that legal designation.

Further, property rights and quiet enjoyment thereof (even as a strata) are a pretty big nut to crack with loads of resistance and unintended consequences (what with them being the foundation of our capitalist western democracy and all). To my mind, applying a usury fee or taxation seems a lot more reasonable and actionable.