FROM METRO… Should Vancouver tax owners of vacant condos?

Jennifer Gauthier/Metro FileA cyclist pedals along the seawall in Stanley park.

Vancouver’s empty condos, owned as an investment but rarely used, are a sore spot for renters who struggle to find decent apartments in a city with exceedingly low rentalvacancy rates.

As the municipal election approaches, politicians from Vancouver’s three historically dominant civic parties are pondering how to deal with vacant condos, an issue that often sparks heated discussions as it overlaps with foreign ownership, affordable housing and property rights.

While it’s unclear how many condos are empty, in the prestigious downtown Coal Harbour neighbourhood the vacancy rate is nearly 25 per cent, according to the most often cited research (based on census data) by UBC adjunct professor Andy Yan.

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