Vacant Unit Tax (VUT)
Yesterday, when Council discussed the Vacant Unit Tax (VUT), I seconded my colleague Keith Egli’s motion that would waive the late fee declaration for 2023 and will commence in 2024 as well as ensure owners are not penalized in certain circumstances.
It is important to note that this tax is applied only to properties in the residential tax class (excludes commercial, industrial, and multi-residential properties) and only to a unit that is not being used as a principal residence and has been unoccupied for more than 184 days in a calendar year. Most residents will not be impacted by this tax.
Once implemented, it will be another tool to encourage homeowners to maintain, occupy or rent their properties. The Ontario Housing Affordability Task Force report highlighted scarcity of housing that has caused house prices to increase by 180% in the last 10 years and even the City’s 10-Year Housing and Homeless Plan speaks to the need for more housing options for low to moderate income households. There will be a strong resident awareness campaign that will commence this summer, and the resident declaration process will not commence until early 2023.
Every homeowner will be required to declare to the city if their home is occupied or vacant each year to determine if the tax is payable. More information on the process and service portal will be shared during the resident awareness campaign this summer.