Vacant home tax of interest to Langley council

Langley Township is eyeing Vancouver’s vacant home tax.

Langley Township will be closely watching Vancouver’s experiment with boosting taxes on Vacant homes, said a councillor.

On Monday, B.C. Finance Minister Mike de Jong announced that the provincial legislature will be recalled on July 25.

The legislature will amend the Vancouver Charter to allow the city to tax vacant properties at a higher rate.

Vancouver is trying to cool off its overheated housing market. It is hoped that boosting taxes on homes left vacant as investments or for flipping will encourage the owners to rent them or sell them to someone who will live there.

De Jong was asked if the rules would be amended for other municipalities in B.C., which fall under the Community Charter.

“We haven’t had a formal request yet,” said de Jong.

Councillor Charlie Fox in Langley Township said the local council will keep an eye on what happens in Vancouver.

While housing prices are going up rapidly in Langley, there are relatively few homes that seem to be left vacant as investments.

However, Fox has been vocal about dealing with homes left vacant and decaying while they await redevelopment.

The problem has moved around the community, but parts of Willoughby, as well as areas in Langley City have been the most affected in recent years.

Both the Township and City have tightened rules in recent years that can require owners to keep their properties better secured.

Mostly those rules are to deal with fire hazards or to prevent squatters from moving in.

Fox said the Township will look at the possibility of a rules change to help deal with derelict homes.



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