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CHEAP SEATS: Time to end tax break for inactive landlords



In a move that can’t come soon enough, Belleville city council may finally end the Vacancy Unit Rebate Program Monday night.

After years of municipal requests, the province has finally loosened restrictions on ending the program, which provides property tax rebates on vacant commercial and industrial spaces.

The idea behind the program is to give property owners relief when they are unable to rent properties due to things like economic downturns or lack of infrastructure amenities.

What it has become in some cases is a break for landlords who don’t want to fix up their properties enough to attract new tenants.

In Belleville, it’s a $300,000 tax break, mostly for commercial property owners, at the expense of homeowners.

And it is a financial benefit some believe has led some property owners, notably in downtown in particular, to forego doing upgrades on their properties that might help decrease the 25 per cent vacancy rate in the core.

Regardless of how much of a benefit it might or might not be, property owners who are leaving buildings unoccupied and unrenovated, especially downtown, need as much motivation to change that as possible.

Getting rid of a tax break for keeping buildings empty is a good start.

I’m Bill Glisky and that’s the way I see things From the Cheap Seats

From the Cheap Seats can be heard Monday to Friday at 7 a.m., 9 a.m. and noon on 95.5 Hits FM and Cool 100.1


Read More: Opinion, From the Cheap Seats, Quinte

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