Understanding Vacant Unit Tax in Ottawa: City of Ottawa Declaration Guidelines

The introduction of the Vacant Unit Tax (VUT) in Ottawa has sparked many conversations among homeowners. With a career rooted deeply in¬†Ottawa’s property market¬†since 2008, I’ve seen firsthand how policies like these can influence our decisions on property management and investment.

My experience across over 500 transactions provides me with insights into the city’s diverse neighbourhoods and their potential for investors. This knowledge makes me well-placed to guide you through understanding and managing your obligations under this new tax rule.

One key detail that every homeowner should note is the mandatory online declaration required by March 21 at ottawa.ca/vut, failing which a $250 late fee kicks in. This article will equip you with essential information about which properties are subject to VUT, crucial deadlines, and what happens if you miss declaring your vacant unit.

Stay informed; it matters.

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • Homeowners in Ottawa must declare if their¬†property was empty for more than 184 days¬†last year by March 21 at ottawa.ca/vut to avoid a $250 fine.
  • The¬†Vacant Unit Tax is one per cent¬†of the home’s assessed value and¬†targets residential properties, not commercial ones, to increase housing availability.
  • Owners face serious penalties, including a tax on their final bill or a fine up to $10,000 for¬†not declaring or making false claims about their property’s vacancy status.

Properties Subject to the Vacant Unit Tax in Ottawa

Moving on from an introduction to the¬†Vacant Unit Tax, let’s explore which homes this affects in Ottawa. If a home is not your main living place and¬†stayed empty for at least 184 days last year, you might need to pay an¬†extra one per cent tax.

This rule aims to make sure more houses are available for people to live in.

The tax only targets homes meant for living in, not places like shops or factories. Each homeowner must tell the city every year if their property was empty, even if they think the tax doesn’t apply to their home.

This helps keep track of vacant properties and encourages owners to either live in them or rent them out.

Nick Square
Nick Labrosse
Labrosse Logo Group All White horizontal
New to Ottawa? Let Us Be Your Guide!
Moving to a new city can be overwhelming, but we're here to help you every step of the way. Trust Labrosse Real Estate to find the perfect home for you and make your relocation to Ottawa stress-free. Our expert agents are familiar with the city and its neighborhoods, ensuring you find the right home in the right location.

Important Deadlines for the Vacant Unit Tax Declaration

Ottawa introduced the Vacant Unit Tax (VUT) to help with the¬†housing supply. Owners must declare if their homes were vacant in 2022 by a certain date. Here’s what you need to know:

  • All residential property owners in Ottawa need to submit a declaration about their property’s¬†occupancy status.
  • The City of Ottawa uses the declaration to find out which homes were empty for more than half of the previous year.
  • You have until¬†March 21¬†to declare your property’s status online at ottawa.ca/vut.
  • Property owners should use their¬†roll number and access code¬†found on their property tax bill for this process.
  • If you miss the deadline, you will face a $250 fine. This is added on top of any Vacant Unit Tax you might owe.
  • Even if your home does not fall under the Vacant Unit Tax, filling out the¬†declaration is still needed.
  • ¬†


Next, let's explore what happens
if you don't declare your vacant unit in time

Consequences of Non-Declaration of Vacant Units in Ottawa

Missing the important deadlines for declaring your property’s status can lead to serious trouble. The city imposes a vacant unit tax (VUT) on properties considered unoccupied for more than 184 days in the previous year.

If you do not declare your property, Ottawa will assume it is empty and apply this tax to your final property tax bill.

Making false claims about your property being occupied can also land you in hot water. The city has the right to check if what you say is true. They might ask for papers or other proof that someone lives there.

If they find out you were not honest, you could face a fine of up to $10,000. This hefty penalty shows how serious Ottawa is about making sure homes are used and not left empty.

Ottawa introduced a tax for empty homes to make more houses available. Owners must tell the city if their place is empty or not by March 21. They can use the website, phone, or visit in person to do this.

This tax helps build¬†affordable homes¬†for people who need them. If one doesn’t follow these steps, a¬†big fine¬†could happen.


The Ottawa vacant unit tax is a new tax implemented in 2023 to encourage homeowners to occupy or rent their properties. It applies if a property was vacant for more than 184 days in the previous calendar year.

All owners of residential properties in Ottawa must declare the status of their properties by the March deadline, regardless of whether it’s deemed vacant or not.

No, this tax only applies to non-principal residences that were vacant for over 184 days during the last calendar year. Principal residences are exempt from this tax.

Yes, there are exemptions available if your property meets certain conditions outlined by the City of Ottawa, even if it was considered vacant for more than 184 days.

If you miss declaring your property’s status by the due date, it may be considered vacant and subject to taxation unless one of the available exemptions applies.

The revenue collected from Ottawa’s vacant unit tax aims at addressing the affordable housing crisis and encouraging property occupancy across Northern Ontario.

LRG Logo All White
Evaluate your home's worth with our property

Find out how much your home is worth with Labrosse Real Estate Group’s free home value estimation service – get started now!