While Ireland may have ghost estates (below), Vancouver has its “beautiful empty homes.”  Vancity Buzz reported on a web site of that title here.


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“The Tumblr blog is … run by an anonymous blogger who hopes people will not only take notice, but also take action. The site states its goals clearly:”

blog seeks to encourage citizens and politicians to possess empty homes and to educate the public on rules in other countries that oblige landowners to ensure properties remain fully occupied – go ahead municipal officials, ignore public opinion and let an investor knock down a heritage home to build a palace, just don’t allow the original home to be left empty and rotting for months or years when many people are desperate for a place to live!

The blogger suggests options like squatting and ‘adverse possession rights,’ or this:

… the City could charge punitive property taxes (more than the current assessment) for empty residential and commercial property across the City. This would encourage owners to ensure homes are lived in until they are demolished. 

While landlords are concerned about having paying tenants because of the tax implications upon the sale of the property, the City should develop policy incentives that ensure fewer homes sit empty.

Leaving aside the probability that such ideas are beyond the city’s jurisdiction (let’s ask the federal and provincial governments to change tax laws and assessment authority for Vancouver’s benefit; that should work),  I don’t quite get how monetary penalties would be worse than the loss of rental revenue that owners and investors are already incurring.

And if the City has the power and inclination to regulate what people do with their empty property, I wonder what’s next.  Because, for sure, something would be next.