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Empty Homes Tax could save tens of millions

Christchurch Progressive Network

5 May 2018

Media Release:

Empty Homes Tax could save tens of millions in the fight against homelessness

“It is stupid for the government to spend tens of millions on motel accommodation for homeless families when we have 33,000 empty homes in Auckland.”

The Christchurch Progressive Network is again urging the government to consider an Empty Homes Tax as a critical tool in the fight against homelessness.

The government announced yesterday it is spending $100 million to provide emergency homes for New Zealand tenants and families this winter with $37 million for motel accommodation.”

“This is poor use of taxpayer money.”

“Instead of spending tens of millions on motels the government could signal the introduction of an Empty Homes Tax – as applies in Vancouver, Canada – to penalize landlords who are keeping homes empty but making huge, untaxed, capital gains from these properties.”
In June 2016 Auckland had 33,000 homes vacant – a vacancy rate of 6.6%, higher than any Australian city.

As well as fueling homelessness, the absence of these houses from the market is helping maintain high houses prices and high rents across the country.

In response to the issue of empty homes in Auckland in 2013 Phil Twyford said:

"It's madness, and says a lot about the housing crisis, that we've got thousands of homes deliberately left vacant by their owners while in South Auckland there are kids sleeping under bushes."

We agree this is madness.

An Empty Homes Tax would mean large numbers of “ghost” homes would be available to rent at a time when homes are desperately needed.

In Vancouver residential property owners submit an annual property tax declaration with the Empty Homes Tax set at 1% of the property value if the home has been unoccupied for more than four months of the previous year. Exemptions apply for houses being built or houses which are sold during the year.

More details of the Vancouver Empty Homes Tax are here:

http://vancouver.ca/home-property-development/empty-homes-tax.aspx

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