Hamilton Passes Vacant Unit Tax Bylaw

Hamilton City Council has passed a new residential Vacant Unit Tax.

The bylaw aims to increase the supply of housing in the City by encouraging residential property owners to keep their properties occupied rather than vacant.

A residential unit will be considered vacant if it has been unoccupied for more than 183 days in the previous calendar year or is deemed to be vacant under the bylaw.

It requires property owners to submit a declaration to the City at the beginning of each year regarding the occupancy of their residential properties.

Beginning in 2025, non-exempt vacant residential properties will be charged one per cent of the property’s assessed value, which will be added to the tax roll and collected the same way as their property taxes. Net revenue generated from the tax will be reinvested into affordable housing initiatives.

“In the face of a declared housing crisis, it is unacceptable for there to be units sitting vacant in the City of Hamilton, which is why I am so pleased to see Council’s reconsideration and approval of the vacant unit tax,” said Mayor Andrea Horwath. “The vast majority of Hamilton property owners won’t pay this tax, but the benefits will be felt across the city. We are doing everything we can to increase the availability and affordability of housing, and the VUT is one of many tools being used to address the unprecedented housing crisis facing our city.”

All residential property owners will be required to submit the occupancy declaration, which is based on the previous year’s occupancy status.

“While the primary goal of this tax is to influence property owners’ decisions regarding vacant units, any net revenue generated from this tax will go toward more housing options for Hamilton residents,” said Brian McMullen, Director, Financial Planning, Administration and Policy for the City of Hamilton. “Property owners who choose to keep their units vacant will be required to pay a tax as a result.”



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