West Windsor councillor pitches residential vacancy tax
The city councillor for Windsor's west-end wants to bring down rents and increase the stock of affordable housing, and he wants to do it by taxing landlords for keeping their properties vacant.
Ward 2 rep Fabio Costante asked a council question Monday night urging city staff to report back on the concept.
The city considers a home vacant when it's empty for more than 90 days.
Costante says there's a crisis in affordable housing and homelessness -- especially in west Windsor, which has the highest proportion of vacant homes in Windsor.
“When we look at all the vacant homes we do have in our community, what can we do to incentivize property owners of vacant homes to activate those homes again?” asks Costante.
Right now -- the city is also looking at eliminating the 30 per cent vacancy tax rebate for commercial properties.
Costante hopes both measures will take a bite out of blight.
"A few months ago when we debated the vacant building initiative, I said I want this council to be the council that moves the furthest it can within the law to do something about our vacant properties, our vacant homes, and so this is another step in that direction," Costante says. "We may be one of the first communities to do this, it may require us to be a bit bold, but I think we can do it, and we should do it."