The Victorian Labor government has fired a warning shot to property investors who leave their homes or apartments vacant for too long, saying they should sell or rent them or be penalised with a new incoming property tax.
Premier Daniel Andrews made the statement while visiting the Melbourne suburb of Darebin where more than 50 properties are believed to be vacant.
Overall, more than a thousand properties are vacant in the City of Yarra, 1,700 are empty in Moonee Valley, and over 2,500 are unused in the City of Melbourne.
“In a time when so many Victorians are trying to get into affordable housing, these homes shouldn’t be sitting idle and unused,” Andrews said.
The government’s vacant residential property tax (VRPT) will commence on 1 January next year and apply for properties which are vacant for more than six months during the calendar year.
It will only be brought into effect within Melbourne’s 16 inner city councils where up to 20,000 properties sit empty. The VRPT will be applied annually at 1% of the property’s capital improved value and will be payable on a calendar year basis.
Holiday homes, city units for work purposes and properties in deceased estates are exempt.
“We don’t want this measure to raise a cent – we just want these empty houses filled with families,” Andrews said.
“We’re tackling housing affordability and making renting fair – because people deserve a good home, close to services, in an area they want to live.”
The tax was introduced earlier this year as part of the government’s Homes for Victorians package.
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