On Larceny in the Legislature and Making the Empty Homes Tax Hurt So Good

Tea & Two Slices is a long-running news round-up by NEEDS frontman and veteran restaurant dishwasher Sean Orr, who lives and works in Gastown. He is very aware of his privilege, so there’s really no need to remind him of it.

Via Boing Boing: The rent is too damned high because money-laundering oligarchs bought all the real-estate to clean their oil money. Oh Cory, don’t forget about Vancouver, where no one is surprised by this. Oil money, fentanyl money, or just plain capital control — it doesn’t matter. It’s easy to blame a certain nation’s people, but we all know it’s about the flow of global capital regardless of the ill-begotten ways in which it was acquired. The best part of this article though, is that you think “rental income-flows” are a source of legitimate money.

As a particular comment by a real estate agent in this article shows, no rental is needed: Canada’s money-laundering problem may be much worse than imagined.

As a Realtor, and resident, in Vancouver’s westside, I have seen the madness that saw property values skyrocket for no apparent reason. It took me a while to figure out from door-knocking, and listening to naive sellers tell me that they were being offered by “Realtors” to sell their property for free. How does that business model work? One explanation is:

Example: Realtor gets 2m listing for free from naive seller. Realtor flips (assigns) listing to gang member 1 and receives commission and kickback for sale. Realtor then flips assignment 1 to gang member 2 for 100,000 more and receives more commission and another kickback from gang. Then, realtor flips assignment 2 to gang member 3 for another 100,000 more, and gets more commission …etc etc etc.

So, after flipping one property 5 times before completion, value has increased 500,000, and the gang has laundered:

Initial sale price: 2m + 2.1M + 2.2m + 2.3M + 2.4m = 10.8m from one sale.

Investigate every assignment between 2010 – 2018. The repeat offenders, their notaries and lawyers, as well as the bank personnel involved will keep turning up in the investigation.

And the banks are all too happy to play along: Banks offer little on how B.C. man with criminal record could allegedly launder money in real estate. “Neither bank would say whether it filed a suspicious-transaction report to Fintrac, the financial transaction and reports analysis centre of Canada, which gathers, analyzes and, in some cases, discloses financial intelligence.” No, because why would they? I mean, you have people rolling up with literally bags of cash to buy multi-million dollar homes and nobody calls Fintrac because they don’t have to. It’s our fault. We let this happen.

We need a Public Inquiry Now.

And while we’re at it: ‘The bomb may yet to come’ in legislature scandal, special advisor says. The popcorn is popping…

Related: B.C. media elites let down the public when they put down Plecas, Mullen. Oh, weird…our corporate media sides with the power structures that uphold the status quo? That’s strange.

If the VPD won’t go after money laundering, maybe we can get Saskatchewan to help: Saskatchewan launches 16-month undercover sting to catch First Nations man illegally selling $90 worth of fish. It would be funny if it wasn’t blatant poor-baiting.

Vancouver council to vote on looking at increase to Empty Homes Tax. John Goldsmith:

This is a no brainer. Let me explain.

The 1% empty home tax for a $1M home (all single family homes in Vancouver are worth $1M plus) is $10k. If the homeowner chooses to not rent the property (say it’s a one bedroom for the sake of argument) that one bedroom at current market rates equals about $25k of potential rental revenue per year. Thus, by choosing to not rent, the homeowner has already decided to take a $25k loss. The only way to make the empty house tax succeed is to tax beyond that “loss” value. Even a 3% penalty would be $30k. So, the dollar penalty needs to be at least that – minimumally!

Keep in mind that I’m using a one bedroom as an example but many homes and apartments are bigger so the potential loss would be even greater. In other words, to make this work, the empty home tax should probably be on the order of 5 to 10 percent range. And if the city truly wants to incentivize owners to rent, then the penalty should increase each year it’s empty. Perhaps year two would be 15 percent.

Meanwhile, Saanich appears to have a Full Homes Tax: 7 roommates forced out of 7-bedroom house because they’re not related. This bylaw needs to change or our secret plan of repossessing mansions and turning them into self-sufficient anarcho-syndicalist communes is never going to get off the ground.

Of course, we can’t even redesign a bridge without the reactionaries crying conspiracy: Granville Bridge re-design would halve number of car lanes for central greenway. Todd Nickel: “I love this plan almost as much as I love watching the carbon-barfers lose their minds over it”.

“Stories like this should, whenever possible, include references to the latest climate science & IPCC reports. City Council recently voted to recognize the global climate emergency. In that context transformation of our urban transportation systems is just common sense”. – Derrick O’Keefe

Watch Vancouver police chief calm agitated man at public meeting. Oh, hey look! It’s the only cop in Vancouver that got de-escalation training. Also, I looked up Directed Energy Weapon like the agitated man said and boy…it’s a doozy.

Bonus: Dedicated to Scratch Records (R.I.P. sorta).

There are 2 comments

  1. Raincoaster, good point. Also, our prevailing breezes are from the west (Pacific), so put lanes & sidwewalks on the west side, where there is fresh air. I notoce that even in bumper-to-bumper rush hrs; air is clean on the sunset side. This Todd Nickel guy can barf on carbon if he wants the greenway to replace the centre median.

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