The City of Toronto is asking residents if they think the City should pursue a tax on vacant homes in Toronto. A vacant homes tax is one of a number of initiatives the City is considering to address housing availability and affordability in Toronto. Vacant homes represent a potential source of readily available housing and a tax may encourage owners to rent out vacant units.
As part of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan, the Province of Ontario recently introduced legislation that would empower the City of Toronto to introduce a tax on vacant residential units. City Council has asked staff to consult on the possible benefits of such a tax and the potential administrative approaches to identifying vacant units.
Privacy rights prevent the use of personal or private information such as water or hydro meter data from being used as a means of identifying potentially vacant units. Therefore, the City is considering three options that could be used to identify vacant homes for taxation:
• mandatory declaration of occupancy status for all property owners
• self-reporting model, and
• complaints basis.
Residents can share their views on a potential vacant homes tax by completing an online survey at http://www.toronto.ca/VHT or by attending a public consultation meeting at Toronto City Hall on Tuesday, August 22 from 6 to 8 p.m. The meeting will be held in Committee Room 1.
The City will also be conducting a public opinion poll to ask residents their thoughts on the potential tax. Staff are expected to report on findings from the consultations later this year.