Vacant home tax, garden suites may soon come to Toronto

It’s not strictly Weston related, but the city is proposing a vacant-homes tax that would charge people 1% of their home’s value every year if it is not occupied. The tax is to encourage more housing supply, and it should raise more than $55 million for the city.

It’s a great idea. Vancouver has had a vacancy tax for three years, and it seems to have correlated with a decline in unoccupied buildings. It has also raised about $50 million for the city.

Toronto hasn’t written the laws yet, but Vancouver makes exceptions for homes that are being sold, renovated, or cannot be rented due to condo-boards. If everything goes according to plan, Toronto could have a tax by 2022.

In other affordable-housing news, Toronto bureaucrats took another small step toward allowing ‘garden suites’ (aka granny flats) earlier this month. The city has been moving towards allowing attractive and (more) affordable infill housing.

I love the idea of turning my somewhat tatty garage into home for my kids when they get a little older. (My kids, and my neighbour, may disagree.) They’d have an affordable place to live, and I’d be able to continue to smother them.

A final report by the planning department should be ready by the middle of next year.

Author: Adam Norman

I am raising my two children in Weston.