Public Consultations on the Vacant Home Tax

The City has launched an online survey and will be hosting a public consultation at City Hall about a potential implementation of a tax on vacant residential units.

As part of the Ontario Fair Housing Plan, the Province of Ontario introduced legislation that would empower the City of Toronto to introduce a tax on vacant residential units in order to encourage property owners to sell unoccupied units or rent them out, and address concerns about residential units potentially being left vacant.

Vancouver, facing a similar issue with housing affordability, adopted an Empty Home Tax in late 2016.

City staff presented the report EX 26.4: Implementing a Vacant Home Tax in Toronto to Council at its meeting of July 4-7, 2017. The report was adopted and Council requested City staff to undertake public consultation about:

  • Whether Toronto should implement a tax on vacant residential units
  • Potential public policy benefits of a property tax on vacant residential units
  • Potential implementation of a tax on vacant residential units in Toronto

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 by all property owners
  • Self-Reporting Model
  • Complaints Basis

Decisions when Council considered EX 26.4: Implementing a Vacant Home Tax in Toronto can be found at: http://app.toronto.ca/tmmis/viewAgendaItemHistory.do?item=2017.EX26.4

In response, staff have prepared the following:

Website and Online Survey
Residents are encouraged to visit toronto.ca/VHT to take the online survey that will be available until September 5. Results of the survey will be summarized in a report to Council in the fall.

Link to website: http://www.toronto.ca/VHT
Link to survey: http://cityoftoronto.fluidsurveys.com/s/vacant-tax-home/

Public Consultation
Residents can share their views at a public meeting:

Tuesday, August 22, 2017
6 – 8 p.m.
Toronto City Hall, Committee Room 1
100 Queen St. W.

Opinion Poll
The City has also engaged a private firm to conduct a poll on the proposed vacant home tax of which results will be summarized in the fall in a report to Council.