Vacant Homes Tax – Tell us your thoughts
The lack of new affordable housing options is a challenge across the Province.
York Region is seeking input from the community as it reviews a potential Vacant Homes Tax for the Region.
In York Region, only 4% of new units built in 2021 were identified as affordable. This represents a decrease from 8% in 2020, reflecting ongoing affordability challenges.
As a result, in February 2021 Regional Council declared a housing affordability crisis, and later established a Housing Affordability Task Force.
What is a Vacant Homes Tax?
A Vacant Homes Tax was one of 16 initiatives under the Province’s Fair Housing Plan in 2017 and is aimed at addressing housing concerns through improving the availability of rental units in the secondary market. Other than the City of Toronto, only municipalities that are ‘designated’ by the province are eligible to levy this tax. It is a tax on non-principal residential properties that remain vacant for a specified period (e.g., it would not apply to principal residences of individuals who travel for the winter or work abroad for extended periods).
In October 2021, Regional Council directed staff to explore the feasibility of a Vacant Homes Tax in York Region. They also directed that any revenues from a Vacant Homes Tax, net of costs, be used to support affordable housing initiatives.
How to participate
Your feedback will help us make informed decisions related to the design of the potential Tax, including:
- Level of public support
- Policy design and implications (e.g., potential tax rates)
- Impact on affordability
- How revenues should be used
- Affordable Housing in York Region – 2021 Measuring and Monitoring
- Regional Official Plan Update Housing Challenges and Opportunities
- Foundational Housing Analysis
Housing Affordability Crisis
- Council resolution - Affordability Crisis Exists in York Region
- Housing Affordability Task Force (inaugural meeting)
- York Region Housing Information