Vancouver chief housing officer argues against city homes ‘being left empty’

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Vancouver’s city chief housing officer has sent a memo to the mayor, council and senior city staff explaining why housing in the area is “being left empty."
 
Mukhtar Latif's message assured that the Vancouver Affordable Housing Agency is working with communications staff and community groups "to develop a digital site where the public can report vacant homes in a coherent fashion".
 
Straight.com said in its report that the digital site would enable city officials to "potentially match it up with BC Hydro data."
 
A number of Latif's reasons for the “empty” spaces across the City of Vancouver include development timing, where housing units are vacant prior to demolition or pending sale. Another reason for the real estate investing behaviour is that the property is on the process of being rented or sold, as well as waiting renovation.
 
Latif added that there are also those homeowners who “flip”, which involves “housing units that are bought, renovated, and sold in a short period of time, with no real ability for rental prior to sale.”
 
Other homes are also left vacant at the moment as owners have pending decisions as whether to rent or leave vacant for a later sale, probate matters, or owners are in “hoteling” or “sabbatical” states. Otherwise, the owner may also be in hospital or care.
 
"We have had difficulty in identifying data sources that can provide the exact numbers of vacant single family homes, length of time properties are being left vacant and reasons for why they are vacant," Latif writes.
 
The chief housing officer also confirmed that Vancouver is in discussion with the federal Canada Mortgage and Housing Corporation, which is "in a similar position".
 

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