Beautiful Empty Homes of Vancouver

Vancouver has too many empty homes!  With many families and other homeless people looking for a place to live, this is a shame.

Here are a few of the many homes across the city that are left empty for a long time instead of being lived in - one option is to move in on your own today! If enough people repossess empty homes maybe the City will be spurred to act and require owners to ensure that homes are lived in prior to resale or redevelopment. 
Empty Home Turns into Mushroom Farm
A neighbour submitted this photo of a rotting empty home at 4593 West 12th Ave. Like most other empty homes, this one is lamented by the neighbours. It should be lived in and maintained as a home by a family.
According to the neighbour:
This beautiful older home in West Point Grey, with a few short interruptions, has sat empty, unheated and without power since 2012. It was sold at that time for a whopping $2.4 million to a man from PRC. He now keeps it as a “holding property” (aka. a rotting bank). Because he will not spend money on heat or lights, the place now has a serious problem with mould. The roof also needs repair and there are mushrooms growing from the ceiling. It’s a sad slow death for such a beautiful old home.
What does the City of Vancouver think would be an appropriate response? Should their be a vacant home tax that would discourage landlords from leaving homes empty? Should there be a  15% tax on non-resident and company purchases of residential property, as exists in Hong Kong and Singapore?

Empty Home Turns into Mushroom Farm

A neighbour submitted this photo of a rotting empty home at 4593 West 12th Ave. Like most other empty homes, this one is lamented by the neighbours. It should be lived in and maintained as a home by a family.

According to the neighbour:

This beautiful older home in West Point Grey, with a few short interruptions, has sat empty, unheated and without power since 2012. It was sold at that time for a whopping $2.4 million to a man from PRC. He now keeps it as a “holding property” (aka. a rotting bank). Because he will not spend money on heat or lights, the place now has a serious problem with mould. The roof also needs repair and there are mushrooms growing from the ceiling. It’s a sad slow death for such a beautiful old home.

What does the City of Vancouver think would be an appropriate response? Should their be a vacant home tax that would discourage landlords from leaving homes empty? Should there be a  15% tax on non-resident and company purchases of residential property, as exists in Hong Kong and Singapore?

Beautiful Empty Home with Ocean Views! 3065 Point Grey Road

Exquisitely situated on Point Grey Road at Balaclava Street, this home boasts ocean views, and a spacious interior. This empty heritage home is slowly rotting to pieces. Who would want to live here? Just about everyone that BEH knows would love to live by the beach surrounded by family and friends - so why is this home left empty and rotting? 

The next time you are cycling by on the new cycle path, have a look for yourself at how this home is being left empty to decay while many in Vancouver struggle to find a place to live: https://goo.gl/maps/xY9Hp

Have you seen an empty home in your neighbourhood? Let us know. 

Million Dollar Empty Heritage Homes - Where are the Families?

This charming heritage home near the beach at 1734 Collingwood Street at West 2nd Ave. has been empty at least 1 year. Why? Because the City of Vancouver lets landlords keep homes empty while the wait to profit from increased land values and rampant speculation in the local property market.

This particular developer was so sure that City Hall didn’t care that he proceeded to tear apart the insides of this home without even applying for a permit. According to the neighbour, he even proceeded to erect his own power pole - all without notifying the city or BC Hydro… are our municipal politicians utterly subservient to property investor capital?

Neighbour Interview

The neighbour indicated that the home had been kept in immaculate condition by an elderly person and that they had never had rats until the property was purchased by a developer and then left vacant. Following an extended period of emptiness, neighbours were flooded with rats. One neighbour even suggested that a family of otters had moved into the home to have their pups.

BEH loves otters, and otter pups are cute, but homes should be for people, families and other human animals… not rats, otters and whatever other non-human animals might decide to move in.

It is time the City implemented policy to stop homes from being left empty!

This Beautiful Empty Home on Balfour Avenue near Oak Street in Shaughnessy has been empty for 4 months and is now awaiting demolition. BEH had a brief discussion with a man from Hubei Province who presented himself as the owner of the property. There are a number of mature Rhododendron trees on the property that are slated for destruction. The owner does not plan to live in the property and has no plans to save any of the trees. 

This Beautiful Empty Home on Balfour Avenue near Oak Street in Shaughnessy has been empty for 4 months and is now awaiting demolition. BEH had a brief discussion with a man from Hubei Province who presented himself as the owner of the property. There are a number of mature Rhododendron trees on the property that are slated for destruction. The owner does not plan to live in the property and has no plans to save any of the trees. 

Empty at the Beach

3696 West 2nd Ave. at Alma Street. Empty while for sale. According to a neighbour, it has been empty for approximately 2 months. 

Empty Home Heaven: West King Edward Ave. at Cambie

For all of the amateur or closet Beautiful Empty Home seekers out there, heaven is real - it exists in the couple of blocks west and east of Cambie Street along West King Edward Avenue. Here are a few of many homes that have been left empty in preparation for a townhouse building boom. BEH supports higher density, and believes that mid-rise townhouses, 3-5 stories, are a reasonable (if anybody cares what we think!)… But WE DO NOT LIKE EMPTY HOMES. SO these homes should be lived in up until demolition/ redevelopment. Lived in by people and not rats (in case there was any confusion). 

If the City is going to create a legislative regime that favours rat infested fire hazards over families and professionals looking for affordable housing, then it will quickly cease to be a vibrant place.

BEH believes that there are simply policy tools the city could employ to raise revenue and prevent empty homes - a surcharge on vacant properties that was high enough so as to make investors/developers uncomfortable about leaving their properties empty would oblige them to find tenants up to the time of demolition. Similar vacant property taxes are levied in cities around the world. It is time for Vancouver’s municipal politicians to wake up. 

Empty Home with Swimming Pool!

This charming home at 4270 West 15th Avenue has been mentioned before. It is a gem of an empty home, and comes with a mosquito-infested swimming pool; if someone actually lived here, the swimming pool would be clean and full of laughing, happy people, but instead, according to neighbours, it has been sitting empty for over 4 months… waiting for a family or students to move in?

Where will young professionals and their families live in Vancouver when property speculation means that so many homes are empty? They won’t. The City will become a playground for wealthy people, land speculators, and the elderly - a wonderful tax base on which to build the “Greenest City.” Hopefully the mayor is listening. 

Drop by and say hi to the ghosts living in the back solarium: https://goo.gl/maps/Z2lzV

Need a Home? Need More Space? Here is the Answer.

This charming empty home at 1074 Laurier Avenue near Oak Street has been sitting completely empty for a long time. With ample natural light, wood floors and lots of living space, it is perfect for a large family. There is also a large front and back yard with apple trees for those interested in local food production and gardening.

This property is unique in that the neighbours at 1050 Laurier are also a beautiful longterm empty home. If you are interested in moving a couple of families in together, this is an option - Beautiful Empty Homes of Vancouver mean there is a world of possibility!

1050 Laurier Avenue near Oak Street. It has a few large bedrooms and a lovely kitchen. There is a large backyard and another empty home next door. 

Due to popular demand, and to assist those visiting the city for a tour of Beautiful Empty Homes, we are starting to include a map with our contributors’ photo essays.

Here it is on Google Maps: https://goo.gl/maps/N6gR0

Vancouver’s Next Homeless Shelter? A Beautiful Empty Home with a Ocean Views.

This stunning but utterly neglected home at 4749 Belmont is a poignant illustration of the waste which now characterises the City: (1) wasted social assets - an empty home; (2) wasted economic assets - an unrented home; (3) wasted environmental assets - wood, and other building materials that will be destroyed (not reused) following demolition or a fire. Who suffers from all of this waste? All of us who live in the City.

It is currently for sale for $25M:  http://www.remax.ca/bc/vancouver-real-estate/na-4749-belmont-av-na-wp_id97942341-lst It is unclear who would spend this kind of money on a demolition project.

What would it take for the City to exercise its power of eminent domain to seize the house for a homeless shelter? The city has failed abjectly to meet its targets on homelessness reduction and the provision of social housing units, so perhaps it could start pressing abandoned properties into service to meet these goals. 

The City’s most recent report on mental health indicates that for mental health treatment to be successful, patients must have a home; monitoring and treating someone who lives on the street does not work! One more reason to start making sure Vancouver’s Beautiful Empty Homes are lived in by all kinds of people - our city would be healthier, happier, and wealthier if that started to happen!

According to the Report, at p.8 “a ‘housing first approach’ aggressively supported by appropriate community based treatment and other key supports can address homelessness and is a sound investment.” This approach should include the use of Beautiful Empty Homes for productive purposes; The City could negotiate longterm affordable lease arrangements from non-resident landowners to use the property for social services.

See the City’s report on treatment for mental health and addictions here: http://vancouver.ca/news-calendar/mayors-task-force-on-mental-health-and-addictions-releases-first-report.aspx

Reuter’s Story on Vancouver “Luxury” Housing Market

Reuter’s new video report looks at Vancouver’s housing marketing and says that it is only going to get more expensive, with many more empty homes - maybe it would be a good time for the Mayor and City Council to do something to ensure that city remains livable?

The video discusses Hong Kong and SIngapore’s 15% tax on non-resident and company purchases of residential property as one possible policy response:

http://www.reuters.com/video/2014/09/11/vancouver-unaffordable-not-in-china?videoId=341994742&videoChannel=118110&channelName=Dateline+Asia 

Vancouver’s Next Cultural Venue? A BIG Beautiful Empty Home!

As part of this week’s theme of Big, Big, Big Beautiful Empty Homes, we head to SW Marine Drive, where there are multi-family homes sitting empty, often for years. This charming venue at 2606 SW Marine Drive at Marine Crescent is empty and waiting for a family or a cultural organisation to move in.

As Vancouver’s cultural venues are razed to make way for condos (remember the Ridge Cinema?), it is time for new ones. What about a series of events in empty homes around the city - art shows, film showings and other “pop-up” events.

As the city’s arts community no longer has any substantive venues to speak of (there are a few stalwarts left), it is time to embrace the precarity of pop-up cultural production and run a serious of free, public events in Vancouver Biggest Beautiful Empty Homes.

BEH thinks this empty home is a wonderful starting point - but what to do with it? Keep it empty until a pack of coyotes move in?

Cultural venue or homeless shelter? 

The Biggest Empty Homes: a disaster waiting to happen

Here is a BEH contributor’s experimentation with the moving image. Would you want to live here? Too bad they destroyed the swimming pool before stopping work!

Tomorrow… even bigger empty homes. One empty home in particular is so large as to be obscene. But we like obscene displays of waste here in Vancouver - use more space than necessary.. Heck! Buy a house and don’t even live in it. Just show it off and enjoy the appreciation in value that would beat any bank deposit. Hold the land, abandon the house to rot and watch the money roll in when you flip the property!

And, if you want to avoid paying capital gains tax while you’re at it, tell Canada Revenue Agency (CRA) that the empty home is your primary residence. Just in case they ask, have mail of one of your family members sent to the house, let it pile up and rot; it doesn’t matter, as long as you can declare the place as your residence and avoid paying any taxes when you flip it and pocket the increased value coming out of Vancouver speculative market! And then move that tidy bundle of cashola offshore baby… let’s undermine the society we live in and never pay taxes to anyone! Who needs roads, clean water, hydro, public safety, health, education… we can go back to nature and all become “social Darwinists” (possibly a CKNW talk radio term).

This Week: Vancouver’s Biggest Beautiful Empty Homes!

Of course, bigger is not always better, but as far as homes go, bigger is better - more bedrooms, more luxury, more living options! This week we are looking at Vancouver’s biggest empty homes. Some of these homes could house ten families, or be a new cultural venue or homeless shelter; instead they sit empty, teasing the homeless and under-housed with a luxurious apportionment of bedrooms, bathrooms, greenhouses and living rooms. What more could a house-hunter desire than these gloriously empty homes?

This home on Southwest Marine Drive near 70th Ave. is enormous and has been empty for a long time. Why does the City permit developers to half demolish a home and then leave it empty for months or years? Does the Mayor have an answer? Is this good for anyone in the city besides developers? Families are deprived of a home, while neighbours have to deal with a dangerous fire hazard…. How to prevent this? Place a punitive municipal tax on vacant properties such that landlords will be motivated to have them lived in up the date of demolition. 

In addition to being a tragic loss of a place to live (the City does not have enough homeless shelters yet there are hundreds of empty homes with rotting bedrooms sitting unoccupied), these half-demolished buildings are a health and safety hazard.

While developers prefer to destroy homes to the extent they cannot be comfortably lived in, and then leave them vacant, this is dangerous!

Please Come in to My Empty Home… at 341 West King Edward Ave.

Even by BEH’s standards, this charming home at 341 is distressingly empty. So much so that the door is even falling off the hinges - is this what the City of Vancouver considers to be a well-maintained property? Is this part of the Mayor’s housing strategy!?

While these questions come across as comical they are serious. is the Mayor’s strategy for housing homeless people to keep homes empty? Does the Mayor live in a parallel universe? Apparently he does.

Empty homes are wasted assets and should be lived in, especially ones with beautiful red doors!