Chinese oligarch sues city of Vancouver over $200,000 "Empty Homes Tax"

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It’s $20 million, not $200 million:

The wife of a Chinese multimillionaire is suing the Vancouver government over a $200,000 tax bill she was served for allegedly leaving a $20.4 million mansion empty, highlighting the staggering wealth Chinese investors have parked in the Canadian city.


Dear Chinese oligarch. Consider it the equivalent of a inactivity fee from your bank and either pay up or take your money elsewhere by selling the unused property.


This doesn’t make sense:

He denies, however, that the property was empty. In a petition filed last month to the Supreme Court of British Columbia, her legal team argued that the lot was being prepared for renovations pending the city issuing redevelopment permits.

Just because you are waiting to get permits, it doesn’t mean the house can’t be occupied.


Nobody quibbles like the rich.

Pay for nothing you don’t have to at all times : Take anything you can at all times : Hoard and grow.

I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, the hoarding rich are human versions of the dragon myths. And the myths clearly say what to do with dragons.


She’s spending more on lawyers than she would on the tax. Meanwhile, I can’t afford to buy here.


So I guess the tax works.


Boy do we need this tax in L.A.


I think something like this should apply to commercial property as well. It’s rather infuriating to see a four-unit strip mall in my town that was built on spec over a decade ago, with one unit having had a short-lived pizza takeout and the other three never occupied.


According to your link, the city’s assessment has dropped 20 percent in the last year. Maybe she’s just miffed it hasn’t been as great an investment as she hoped.


Agreed, and even more infuriating to see viable neighborhood businesses lose their lease and to then have that space sit empty for years. I am guessing in anticipation of a tenant that can pay a higher rent but never materializes.


The ONLY reason I can afford to own property in Vancouver is from riding the market for almost 30 years and leveraging the massive increase in equity. My original purchase now has a value of about 5 times what I bought it for. When I sold it after owning it for 7 years, it had already appreciated by 50% !


It’s not just LA. It’s everywhere. I’m very interested in seeing some hard numbers on vacancy rates, both personal property and commercial.


He’s attorney

Man, that’s setting off all my grammar alarms. Want so bad to be “His attorney.”


$200,000 to someone with a net worth of $925 million is equivalent to $210 to someone with a net worth of $1 million.

It’s the principal of the thing…

[sorry, couldn’t resist]

Yes, pretty much every global alpha-tier city (the only places with well-paying full-time jobs that oligarchs don’t need) has this going on right now.


Whaa? Chinese multi millionaires? Surely this was what was envisioned during the cultural revolution. A small group where power and money are concentrated, who live completely different lives than your average working citizen…

So… socialism fails because it’s basically an equally (if not more) corrupt copy of standard capitalism?

Whaa? Humans gonna human I guess.


The vacancy is a problem everywhere, but it isn’t one problem. There are two very different flavors and this tax helps one of the flavors and would destroy the other. Weak market cities like Cleveland and Detroit have vacancy rates that are astounding, but a vacancy tax would almost certainly lead to a massive increase in arson rather than decreased prices. It is already possible to buy a lot of homes in this city for a dollar.Just to maintain the minimum compliance with laws like grass height pushes these homes well into negative commercial value. A tax would push that further. Historically one way to reduce that tax burden is an “accidental” fire. You can also decrease spending on security for the building (like not replacing the door after squatters break it open) and you’ll probably end up with an actual accidental fire after a while. The numbers are out of date, but here are the top cities for arson a few years ago and you’ll note that they fit a pattern The South Bronx had the same problem at the bottom of their market.

I wonder if the Vancouver tax covers tearing the house down and leaving the lot empty to escape the tax?

In Vancouver, it’s not unusual to buy a perfectly good house, tear it down, and jam a larger one into the property. (Some lots have been through that cycle more than once.) A pre-cleared lot might be more valuable to those buyers.


Sorry, “vacancy” was a poor choice on my part. What I meant to write was: “…hard numbers on rates of properties that are owned and paid up but sitting vacant.”

Where is your town?

The reason for the tax is that Asian investors are holding lots of land as a cash sync and causing locals to not be able to afford housing