A Tax On Your (Vacant) Houses – Gavin Putland

Letter to the Age

Thursday June 26th

WHEN we hear that the rental vacancy rate is less than 1% (“$155-a-week Lalor ‘shack’ highlights rental crisis”, The Age, 25/6), we need to remember that this figure includes only dwellings offered “to let”. If it included vacant lots and other unoccupied properties that are not on the rental market, the vacancy rate would be at least 10 times higher.

One obvious solution is a holding tax of several per cent per year on the values of all vacant sites, including those with buildings that have been vacant for more than a month. To avoid the tax, property owners would build on vacant lots and seek tenants for unoccupied buildings.

Gavin R. Putland, Dandenong.

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