With a new year now underway, Canadians can expect to see a variety of changes coming to federal, provincial and local government housing legislation in 2024.
From updated taxes to revised urban planning regulations, new housing laws and policies will roll out across the country in the coming months. Several of these policies promise to boost much-needed housing supply, which remains at a critical shortage in both the resale and rental segments.
Here are the new housing policies that you should know about in 2024.
Short-term Rental Restrictions
In November, 2023, the Government of Canada unveiled its 2023 Fall Economic Statement, which details new tax, spending and inventory-boosting measures. This includes new efforts to incentivise short-term rental operators to return properties to the long-term housing market. Going forward, income tax deductions will be denied in cases where short-term rental owners are not compliant with provincial or municipal licensing, permitting or registration requirements. This applies to all expenses incurred on or after January 1st, 2024.
You can read more details from the 2023 Fall Economic Statement here.
Pre-approved Home Design Catalogue
To boost construction of new home supply, the federal government intends to revive a post-Second World War housing policy of standardized, pre-approved home designs, making it easier and faster for developers to build new properties. The modern version of the catalogue will focus on creating blueprints for a variety of low-rise housing, and potentially higher-density homes and different forms of building construction, such as modular and prefabricated homes.
Consultations for the home catalogue are expected to start in January 2024.
New Luxury Home Tax
Effective January 1st, 2024, the City of Toronto will enforce graduated Municipal Land Transfer Tax thresholds for high value residential properties. Previously, homes valued at $2 million or more would be subject to a MLTT rate, which is currently set at 2.5%. Going forward, additional thresholds have been established for homes priced between $3 million and $20 million, with the new rates set incrementally higher based on the value of the home.
Legalization of Rooming Houses
Otherwise known as multi-tenant homes, rooming houses will become legal in the City of Toronto starting March 31st, 2024, along with new regulations. Previously, rooming houses were not legal in some areas of the city. Under the new framework, Toronto rooming houses will be limited to a maximum number of rooms and parking, licensing requirements, and will be required to follow a compliance program. A multi-tenant house is defined as a building with four or more rooms that may have a shared washroom and kitchen.
Increase in Vacant Home Tax Rates
In 2023, Toronto introduced its first ever Vacant Home Tax (VHT), which requires homeowners to declare the occupancy status of their residence to the municipality each year. The VHT was implemented to increase housing supply in Toronto by encouraging the conversion of empty properties into occupied homes.
The VHT has been increased from 1% to 3% for the 2024 taxation year, which will become payable in 2025.
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