Why? Because apparently they need some more incentive to keep units occupied. Also, even though a property might be vacant, there’s still imputed rental income there. Its owner is just receiving it in the form of enjoying the unit for himself instead of receiving an actual rent check from a tenant. That imputed rent ought to be taxed like any other income.

  • zurohki@aussie.zone
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    11 months ago

    Income tax when you aren’t receiving an income is a weird idea.

    It sounds like the author wants a land tax, but hasn’t ever heard the term.

    • Tavarin@lemmy.ca
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      11 months ago

      Another term is a vacant homes tax, something Vancouver and Toronto in Canada are using.

      • chonglibloodsport@lemmy.ca
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        11 months ago

        These sorts of narrow, “feel-good” taxes are the wrong way to go. People find loopholes to avoid paying them.

        Georgist land value tax (LVT) is straightforward and cannot be avoided. It incentivizes owned land to be utilized, otherwise it becomes a huge liability. It does not disincentivize improvements (building stuff) because taxes are tied to underlying land values, not improved property value.

        • danc4498@lemmy.world
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          11 months ago

          So, if I own a condo in a high rise building, how does this work? Does the building get the tax, and that gets divided up among all the condos? Or does each living space get it’s own tax?

            • c10l@lemmy.world
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              11 months ago

              Except in cuckoo-land (UK) where most apartment owners don’t own any part of the land where their property is built. It’s called a leasehold and is batshit insane.

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                11 months ago

                So rental that gives the same development right as owning the place but without it being for an indefinite length of time? So you need to have a return on investment before the lease expires otherwise why not just go for a normal rent? 🤔

        • Steeve@lemmy.ca
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          11 months ago

          Isn’t that just effectively another property tax where it’s needed? Afaik the issue isn’t people sitting on empty land, it’s sitting on empty housing.

          • chonglibloodsport@lemmy.ca
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            11 months ago

            Property taxes discourage building. Empty land is really cheap, property tax wise. Once you build on the land, property taxes go way up. This discourages you from building on the land.

            Land value tax is the opposite. The tax you pay is based on how much the land is worth, based on its location and supply/demand. An empty lot in NYC would cost the same in LVT as if it had a big apartment full of renters. This makes it very expensive to hold on to unless you’re going to build on it.

            The same applies for improvement. If you own a plot with a single family house on it in an area where demand is skyrocketing, your LVT is going to shoot up along with it. This encourages you to either tear it down to build apartments or sell it to someone who will.

            The really interesting part about LVT is that it paradoxically makes housing more affordable. One of the biggest problems with the current property tax system is that people’s taxes don’t go up when the value of their property increases. This leads to little old ladies sitting on multi million dollar homes and paying almost no taxes at all in places like the Bay Area. Land Value Tax would force tons of those houses onto the market, causing prices to go down due to increased supply. Truly expensive areas would also have to have apartments built to cover the tax.

            The other nice thing about LVT is that landlords can’t pass it on by raising rent. Since the cost of rent in the area directly determines the value of the land, rent increases just turn into tax increases. At some point landlords have to stop increasing rent otherwise everyone would move out and then they couldn’t afford the taxes, so this leads to an equilibrium.

            The only thing left to solve in this system is to make sure taxes are used to benefit regular people and not wasted.

          • DaSaw@midwest.social
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            11 months ago

            Empty housing is empty land. It just has a house on it. And there are times and places where landowners will spend decades sitting on infill waiting for land values to go up. Additionally, land that could be developed into high density housing but is being held at low density at the behest of the area’s politically connected residents, is kind of like “empty” land. It isn’t a binary.

    • chemical_cutthroat@lemmy.world
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      11 months ago

      That’s the thing, it’s not a “property tax” that they want, it’s for landlords to have to utilize the apartments for low income housing like they are supposed to. What’s going to happen is that they are going to leave the apartments vacant for 5+ years and then say, “No one wants to live here, so I’m not making money. I have to renovate to draw in new tenants, so I’ll have to increase the cost to cover my cost.” This is just modern day blockbusting, and it’s fucking terrible.

      • TAG@lemmy.world
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        11 months ago

        What is the incentive for the landlord to keep the building occupied? Why not just immediately tear it down and build luxury apartments?

        • chemical_cutthroat@lemmy.world
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          11 months ago

          The incentive is that the building was built with a grant from the government to help initial building costs with the promise that it would be section 8 for X years, but section 8 doesn’t get landlords rich, so they look for loopholes to get around it. One of them is keeping the building vacant for those years and then “renovating” to make more money off of the tenants that aren’t section 8.

        • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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          11 months ago

          It’s certainly wasteful. If people are going without any proper shelter, then having extra, mostly vacant housing to yourself should be discouraged.

          • LoamImprovement@beehaw.org
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            11 months ago

            This right here. The US averages some thirty unoccupied houses for every homeless person. A lot of those are just owned by investment firms who will sit on them because housing is treated as an investment first and a human need second. It’s not a supply problem, it’s a fucking greed problem.

    • TenderfootGungi@lemmy.world
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      11 months ago

      Just make property taxes higher for empty buildings. Prorate per month. I thought some country was trying this?

      For rentals in general, trying to solve a different problem, we should drastically increase property taxes and then give a discount for primary residence that puts it back to where it is now.

    • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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      11 months ago

      The owner of an apartment is always receiving income from it, either in the form of the rent check or whatever utility it provides for him to keep it to himself.

      I don’t like land taxes and other property taxes because I don’t think there’s a good way to apply those taxes progressively. Rather, if we just take the imputed rent of a given asset (land, building, car, etc.) and add that to the taxpayer’s income, the the progressive income tax can just do its thing.

      • zurohki@aussie.zone
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        11 months ago

        No, he’s receiving value from it. That’s not the same thing as income. You can’t tax a percentage of value, only actual money.

        You’re guessing how much rent he could be collecting and taxing a percentage of the imaginary rent payments… You’re really bending over backwards here to implement a property tax or vacancy tax but with a bunch of extra steps.

        • greenskye@lemm.ee
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          11 months ago

          Wrong. Basically everyone who’s ever paid property taxes has been taxed on value. Even though I haven’t sold it or nor plan to anytime soon, I owe increased taxes because the estimated value of it has gone up.

          • Schadrach@lemmy.sdf.org
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            11 months ago

            Basically everyone who’s ever paid property taxes has been taxed on value.

            Right, but you pay property taxes based on the assessed value of the property, you don’t also pay income taxes on property unless that property is actually generating an income.

            For example, you don’t have to figure how much you could hypothetically rent your home for if you weren’t living in it and add that to your income, even if you are wealthy enough to have a second home or summer home or something. It really just sounds like NY should significantly raise the property tax rate for unoccupied residential properties other than a primary residence, especially unoccpied residential properties owned by a commercial entity.

            • greenskye@lemm.ee
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              11 months ago

              Agreed, I’d drastically increase the vacant property taxes such that they might approximate income taxes for a leased property. Seems simpler for the same effect.

          • Piecemakers@lemmy.world
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            11 months ago

            Don’t bother. This post is quickly becoming a circlejerk; they’re not interested in learning, just bitching and stroking each other off.

        • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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          11 months ago

          That’s not true. If I receive artwork, a car, shares of stock, room and board, free tuition, etc., then that is income on I which I will owe taxes. Figuring out the value of these things isn’t a guess. It’s an estimate based on actual market data. It’s actually kind of easy in the case of a rental property since the landlord will have advertised the rent amount. So, if he wants to pay lower tax then he can just lower his ask.

      • DaSaw@midwest.social
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        11 months ago

        Land value taxation is inherently progressive. That’s probably why it’s never been implemented.

        • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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          11 months ago

          Is it really? Isn’t a land value tax suppose to be flatly applied to the value of land and not change with respect to the adjusted gross income of the land owner?

          • DaSaw@midwest.social
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            11 months ago

            You don’t need to adjust for income. How do you get high value land with a low income? How do you own high value land and not derive an income from it? You’re imagining an extreme edge case of some family that’s been passing high value land down, generation after generation, without ever leveraging this advantage into financial success.

            The more valuable the property, the larger a component of that value that tends to be in the value of the location itself, as opposed to the capital improvements to that location. Low income housing, as cheaply built as it is, is built in an even cheaper location. Conversely, a house but for higher income people is built more expensively, but even greater is the access to good schools, jobs, shopping, low (blue collar) crime rates, and so on that a high value location provides.

            And that’s just residential real estate, which is almost people even think about. With commercial and industrial sites, location becomes even more important.

            People who talk this way don’t know what land value is. They imagine there is a relationship to quantity, when location is almost the entire driver. Maybe a thousand square feet of space in upper Manhattan or San Jose or something is comparable to a hundred acres in rural Wyoming, or wherever.

            And what about the poor in cities? They already pay a land value tax… to the owners of the land. You will say that if the owners are taxed, they will raise rents… but if they can just raise rents like that, why haven’t they already? Normally, a tax can be “passed on” because a tax on a thing affects the supply of that thing: the tax raises costs, which lowers profits, which drives capital out of that industry and into another, which reduces the amount being produced, which allows the higher price.

            But land is fixed in supply. If you’re imagining a way of increasing or reducing the supply, you’re not thinking about land, but capital improvement to it. The supply can be neither increased nor decreased. Its existence is not dependent on any industry or thrift or other service on the part of the landowner and, as such, any income derived simply from owning a location and leasing it out to others is unearned. It’s essentially extortion, one person renting to another the “privilege” of existing, and if there are any landowners not collecting the full value that can be collected, it is either because they haven’t found the highest price yet, or out of the kindness of their hearts.

            • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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              11 months ago

              I’m not sure what you’re getting at. My property tax bill has separate components for the land and the improvements upon it. I’m sure that a larger portion of my income goes to paying it than some of my neighbors.

    • _NoName_@lemmy.ml
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      11 months ago

      That’s what I think too. A law where you pay more tax for additional properties you own on top of your first home. I don’t know enough about the housing market to know if such a law would actually help, but at first glance it does seem like it’d break up some of the corporate slum lord businesses around the US

      • LufyCZ@lemmy.world
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        11 months ago

        Rent from unoccupied properties is not income, because there’s no rent.

        Read the post again.

  • circuitfarmer@lemmy.sdf.org
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    11 months ago

    There are so many empty business spaces in my town because landlords can just sit on them – and potentially rake in tax credits – even though no one wants to rent at their rates.

    Needs to stop.

  • DaSaw@midwest.social
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    11 months ago

    “Income tax on their properties whether they’re rented or not” is just a long way of saying “land value taxation”.

    • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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      11 months ago

      I disagree. Land value taxes are flat unlike a progressive income taxes. Therefore, a land value tax can be unfairly burdensome to people with low incomes who happen to own land. If imputed rent is taxed as income, then the tax burden is more fairly shared. It also creates more insentive to keep rents low and units occupied.

      • JimmyMcGill@lemmy.world
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        11 months ago

        Yes but that’s not the reason why.

        There’s actually a very big shortage of homes here. Finding a place is hell, and not just because of the price.

        Also they are planning to get rid of this soon.

        Taxing people on an empty house makes sense to me. Taxing them on an income that they don’t get from some house that they live in makes zero sense to me. There’s wealth tax for that, but people are living in the house that they bought. That’s what we should encourage people to do if they buy a house.

        • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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          11 months ago

          If you have an imputed rental income tax in addition to a wealth or property tax, then I think one has to go. Doesn’t seem right to have both.

          • JimmyMcGill@lemmy.world
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            11 months ago

            Yes there’s both but the wealth tax is much less significant than the imputed rental income

            What I really dislike about it is that if you have a house and rent it out you pay a tax on that rent. If you live on it you pay a tax on a rent that doesn’t exist. It almost incentivizes you to rent your house rather than living in it.

            • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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              11 months ago

              It does exist, but it’s not obvious because it’s income in the form of the rent you don’t have to pay because you are both the owner and possessor of the house. It’s kind of like how, in the USA at least, if I get free tuition because a parent or spouse works at the university I attend, I will owe income tax on the tuition I’m not paying. Or, if I have some debt that gets cancelled somehow, I will owe income tax on that amount.

    • KarmaTrainCaboose@lemmy.world
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      11 months ago

      Do you have any info about this? Is it a tax on the value of vacant units, or a tax on the possible rental income of a vacant unit? I would like to read more about it. Can’t find much on Google.

  • Piecemakers@lemmy.world
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    11 months ago

    So much to unpack there, not the least of which are the sweeping generalization of “landlord” and the truly odd assumption that all landlords “enjoy” every single vacant unit “for themselves”… I mean, I appreciate your outrage, but damn. Stay in school?

    • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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      11 months ago

      No outrage here. I’m using the word enjoy in an economic sense, as in possessing something and getting some benefit out of it. The concept is called “imputed rent” if you’d like to look it up.

      • Piecemakers@lemmy.world
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        11 months ago

        Thanks, and though only a handful of margins actually enjoy the concept in an economic sense, I’m personally aware of the term and its tax implications (as an actual landlord myself). For those that aren’t, however and would like to avoid condescension, I’ll save you a click.

          • Piecemakers@lemmy.world
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            11 months ago

            Sorry, friend. I find your suggestion implausible. Your post, while perhaps well-meaning in its origin, begins with unnecessary exaggeration and belies an emotional if not outright personal source for the opinion behind it. Your condescension is baked right in.

              • Piecemakers@lemmy.world
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                11 months ago

                Eh. You might’ve come off as educated-yet-a-little-overzealous at first, but now you’re clearly just a whiner with an Econ 101 textbook on loan and a his rusty lunchbox to rattle at the sky.

                Keep on truckin’, kid. You’ll figure it out someday.

    • Clent@lemmy.world
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      11 months ago

      They could enjoy the space. It’s their choice no to.

      Try going to school.

  • PowerCrazy@lemmy.ml
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    11 months ago

    There are lots of ways to tax landowners, but ultimately they all punish landowners for existing (which is a great thing for society) so instead they become weird neo-liberal market based schemes like tax credits for entrepreneurs who own land in a disadvantaged area for at least 3 years. so that the people that will be targetted by the tax are able to avoid it by claiming that they also own the bodega in their slum, thereby making them an entrepreneur.

    Ultimately it’s not that the people proposing these taxes can’t come up with better tax schemes, it’s that they are paid to come up with ridiculous schemes that are designed not to eliminate landowners.

  • HowMany@lemmy.ml
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    11 months ago

    Where do landlords get their money? (the money they exist with).

    From renters.

    If they have to pay money (as taxes) for rentals that aren’t occupied, where will that money come from?

    From renters in the form of higher rents.

    Are you SURE you want to go through with this?

    • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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      11 months ago

      The solution is simply for landlords to keep their units occupied and they can increase occupancy rates by lowering rents, which will also have the effect of lowering their tax obligations. I’m not sure what you think the problem is.

      • essell@beehaw.org
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        11 months ago

        That’s certainly the preferable solution, I guess it’s worth asking if it would work out that way.

        So for example, I own 100 houses and I earn £100 per month for each one. (Values for purposes of illustration only!)

        Let’s assume 10% are empty at one time.

        With an income of £9,000 per month I’m paying 20% tax on that, £1800.

        Up that tax to £2000 under this scheme, costing me £200 per month.

        so do I drop rents by £5 per building which is going to mean my income changes to £9500 minus £1900 tax for a net earnings of £7600

        Or do I increase rents by £5 and keep running with 10% empty buildings? Earnings are now £9450 with a tax bill of £2100. Net earnings of £7350 while holding onto hope that I could rent out some of those other empty buildings?

        Put simply, if I’m the kind of person who owns a 100 buildings do you imagine my instinctive response is going to be to cut prices or to pass on my costs to tenants?

        • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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          11 months ago

          If you’re that kind of person then you’re already charging as much as the market will bear. I think you would have an easier time doing what you can to fill the vacancies or just selling the vacant units.

        • PowerCrazy@lemmy.ml
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          11 months ago

          If you own 100buildings, the proper tax burden is that you shouldn’t be able to own 100 no matter what the rent would be. The tax burden should be so high that you are losing money for each building regardless of rented status, until you get down to a reasonable number of homes of say 2. And you’ll pay a decent amount for that 2nd one if it’s in an urban area.

      • Notorious_handholder@lemmy.world
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        11 months ago

        Or they’ll just raise rent further like they already do. Landlords already want empty units filled because in their eyes they are losing money on it being empty. They already have incentive to fill the units.

        Thinking that’d they’d lower rent to fill more units rather than just raise prices further for current and future tenets to compensate additional expenses is frankily naive.

        It’s not like landlords are gonna run out of people to charge more money for. It’s not like people won’t just lower their standard of living further to compensate for the increase like what happens already.

        The only solution to high rent and the housing crisis is to loosen zoning laws and allow the building of both more affordable government housing and general housing and apartments in cities and high population areas to have supply meet or exceed the demand. We know from studies and real world examples that this approach works and is very effective.

        Imposing a tax on vacant units would make it more risky for potential investors and companies to build more housing and thus the rate and speed of new homes being erected would slow even further due to this tax.

        On paper this tax makes sense, but it ignores the reality of how landlords and multinational companies that build houses and apartments currently operate

        • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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          11 months ago

          I get what you’re saying. I agree that there’s no new tax policy that will fix the landlord problem on its own. Ideally, it would have to be combined with a massive build out of publicly owned housing and supporting infrastructure, especially transit.

  • Melllvar@startrek.website
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    11 months ago

    Its owner is just receiving it in the form of enjoying the unit for himself

    What’s actually wrong with that?

    • 2CatsOneBowl@aussie.zone
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      11 months ago

      I don’t know about anywhere else but in Australia if you are using the unit you can’t claim the expenses as a rental, so there’s no advantage to keeping it empty.

      • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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        11 months ago

        It makes sense for landlords to hold out for higher rents sometimes. In NYC and probably other places, landlords can get tax breaks if they agree to rent stabilization rules, which set the limit for rent increases each year. One way for landlords to take advantage of this arrangement in to keep units off the market until they think rents are relatively high so that they can get the most out of the allowed increases, while still getting the tax break.

        Also, with property values increasing, it can be very tolerable just on to hold onto a vacant unit. What do you need an annoying tenant for if the property keeps appreciating and you can even maybe get a line of credit out of it?

        In the context of imputed rent, it doesn’t really matter what the owner personally gets out of keeping a property to himself. If the market rent for the unit is $2,000/month, that means the owner is getting $2,000/month worth of some kind enjoyment out of having it. That’s because if he didn’t own it he would have to pay whomever did $2,000/month for the privilege. It’s not immediately obvious, but the income is the rent you don’t have to pay when you are both the owner and possessor of a piece of property.

    • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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      11 months ago

      I just think that this is a type of income that should be progressively taxed like other income and that there will be benefits to doing so.

  • Cleverdawny@lemm.ee
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    11 months ago

    The effect of this would be a massive disincentive for landlords to engage in major remodels or reconstructions to rental units, impeding growth in housing and remodeling of units beyond the kind of basic paint and sweep that is typical between tenants.

    Just increase the land value tax.

    • Delphia@lemmy.world
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      11 months ago

      Easiest solution would be to have 2 property tax brackets and manage it at a city council level.

      Occupied/under maintenance or vacant. If you rent a house you show the city council the lease and they give you a form that says you’re entitled to the lower rate for the term of the tenancy,or you go to them and inform them that the property is underrgoing maintenance and is expected to be that way for X months and again you’re entitled to the lower rate. If you cant provide evidence or tenancy or maintenance/repairs for say… 75% of the year, you pay a higher rate. Not extortion levels of higher but a definite incentive.

      Oh and absolutely ball breaking fines for anyone found to be doing dodgy shit.

    • J12@lemmy.world
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      11 months ago

      This is for apartments only. For the most part I don’t believe corporations should own single family housing, with the exception of vacation homes and those numbers need to be booked up at least 50% of the year and there should be a cap on how many a corporation can own

      I would do a tiered tax rate depending on vacancy for apartments.

      Example 1% property tax if property is 95-100%

      5% 80-94%

      10% 60-79%

      Etc etc

      Absolutely punish the complexes that charge ridiculous rates while sitting at a 20% vacancy. I know plenty in my town that are doing exactly that. Charging $1500 for a small one bedroom apartment while all the units are sitting empty.

      Reward the full ones with a low tax rate and punish the ones sitting on empty housing with a high rate.

      • Cleverdawny@lemm.ee
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        11 months ago

        Sounds like a nightmare to oversee and upkeep. Much easier to just make it easier for companies to build more housing so that there’s enough competition to drive prices down

    • deadbeef79000@lemmy.nz
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      11 months ago

      They’re arguing against imputed income… possibly not understanding how it works… not that rent isn’t income.

    • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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      11 months ago

      I wouldn’t be so sure about that. Landlords should be legally compelled to keep their properties up to snuff and if that’s too much to ask then they need to get out of the business. As for renovations, if they have to do any that would make a unit uninhabitable for a period of time then that would probably warrant a temporary reduction of the taxable rent, which could be addressed in the permitting process. If renovations take longer than what was permitted, authorities could investigate to make sure the owner isn’t actually warehousing the unit, which would be a violation. In any case, tax on the imputed rent of the land would still be owed, so there’s always an incentive to complete renovations quickly.

      Edit: as I replied here, I’m not a fan of land value or other property taxes.

  • beteljuice@lemmy.ml
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    11 months ago

    What’s really fucked up is that selling a rental property doesn’t incur the same tax penalties as selling a lived-in home. Should be the opposite. How ass-backwards can you get?

  • ArbitraryValue@sh.itjust.works
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    11 months ago

    Landlords generally aren’t going to decline making money. If they’re not renting these units out, that implies that doing so would cost them money despite the rent they would receive. You can force them to rent the units out anyway, but ultimately they’re not going to agree to keep losing money forever. Either they find some loophole that does let them make money, or eventually you end up with abandoned property inhabited by people who can’t or won’t pay enough to actually maintain that property.

    I’ve never owned rent-controlled property, but I did own a house which I kept empty for about a year instead of renting out. (Eventually I sold it.) Market rent wasn’t enough to motivate me to do the work and take on the risks associated with having tenants. I know another guy who lives alone in a big two-family house for the same reasons. Some people who don’t own property seem to think that renting it out is just free money, but things aren’t that simple…

    • _NoName_@lemmy.ml
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      11 months ago

      If you read the article, they state exactly what you just said. NYC has many unoccupied apartments which are not being filled because the renters concluded that the rent would not pay for cost of upkeep. They’re not selling the properties either, though.

      This is occurring in the midst of homelessness being on the rise. A law like this would be to either force the renter to put the property on the market, or fill the vacancy.

      • Cleverdawny@lemm.ee
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        11 months ago

        Honestly if a potential rental unit won’t cover the costs associated with renting it, I can’t think about how salable it’s going to be. Seems like a market failure and my guess is that it probably has to do with the extensive regulations on rentals in NYC and how hard it is to get rid of a bad tenant.

        • _NoName_@lemmy.ml
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          11 months ago

          It may not be salable to a renter but it’s probably going to still be salable to people who actually need a place to live.

          Also, yes, plenty of landlords would be screwed into a situation where they’ll lose money either way and will just lose more money from holding onto the property than from selling.

          • Cleverdawny@lemm.ee
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            11 months ago

            I doubt that. If a properly is salable and isn’t rentable, a landlord will generally just sell it.

          • socsa@lemmy.ml
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            11 months ago

            What you are describing is the same problem though. If you sell it and someone comes in and renovates it for use as a primary residence, then it is no longer affordable housing.

      • ArbitraryValue@sh.itjust.works
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        11 months ago

        The point I’m trying to make is that if renting the property out is a net loss and whoever owns it is required to rent it out, there’s almost no reason for a person who intends to comply with the law to want to own the property. Forget selling - why would anyone even take it for free if it was just a permanent money sink?

        • wahming@monyet.cc
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          11 months ago

          The idea is that properties beyond the first get taxed more heavily. So if you’re going to buy an investment property, you better damn well make it attractive to rent.

        • _NoName_@lemmy.ml
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          11 months ago

          Forget selling - why would anyone even take it for free if it was just a permanent money sink

          Because it’s a place to live in without having rent being arbitrarily dictated by some random dude. It’s instead a tax you pay based on who you vote for.

        • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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          11 months ago

          …why would anyone even take it for free…?

          So they could live in it. Why does it have to be a money sink for the new owners if they get it for a good price (or even for free)?

        • PowerCrazy@lemmy.ml
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          11 months ago

          Perhaps landowning as an “investment” is a shit idea, and that propety should be owned by HUD, or whatever regional equivalent.

    • idiomaddict@feddit.de
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      11 months ago

      Landlords don’t generally leave money on the table.

      Here’s two anecdotes about landlords leaving money on the table.

      The thing is, there’s too much hassle and insecurity there for you. The income tax on empty properties would almost certainly change the equation, whether it incentivizes you to sell the building or rent it out, that helps tenants.

      • ArbitraryValue@sh.itjust.works
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        11 months ago

        I wouldn’t say that I was leaving money on the table. There’s a difference between gross income and net income - my gross income would have increased if I rented my house out, but my costs would have increased as well. Once I accounted for the cost of my time, of the additional maintenance, and of the risk that I would get someone who refused to pay rent, trashed the place, and took a year to evict, I decided that the net income from renting would be negative.

        I was just a guy with a house, not a professional landlord. I think a professional would have found a profitable way to rent out a house like mine (because it wasn’t rent-controlled). But these vacant properties are already owned by professional landlords - I’m not sure who you think would find a way to make money off of renting them out if the professionals can’t. And why would someone buy a property that doesn’t make money?

        (I suppose some people would buy them for a low price as a bet that the restrictive regulation will be repealed someday. Where I live, you can already get cheap rent-controlled property in very expensive parts of town with the hope that you might eventually be able to get the tenant out of there. But I don’t see this as a viable large-scale solution.)

        • idiomaddict@feddit.de
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          11 months ago

          Either the properties are valuable as rental properties, they’re not especially suited for rental properties, or they’re not fit to live in. If they’re in the first category, great. If they’re in the second, forcing a landlord to sell instead of sitting on an empty property helps, in that it creates more supply of livable homes for people making the leap to homeownership (that’s the answer to who would buy a house that doesn’t make them money: people who want to live in it). If the property is unsafe/unlivable, it should be repaired in a timely manner or torn down.

          • ArbitraryValue@sh.itjust.works
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            11 months ago

            I think rent-controlled properties tend to be apartment buildings rather than single-family homes. An apartment building can be converted into a co-op or condominium and I admit I don’t know much about that process. I can see a lot of potential difficulties. Maybe there are solutions and I am just ignorant of them.

            Presumably most of the tenants in the building can’t afford to buy their apartment outright but just kicking them all out isn’t allowed. If tenants do end up getting their apartments for less than market price, what’s to stop them from immediately reselling them? And won’t monthly costs for the tenants go up because the co-op/condo can’t run at a loss?

            • idiomaddict@feddit.de
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              11 months ago

              It’s pretty common to have a building that’s partially inhabited by renters and partially by owners. It’s not super unusual to have a building owner sell only some units in a building.

              It’s entirely possible to put a clause in the contracts associated with the sale that the new owner must give the old owner a share of any profits on a resale within five years.

              If there’s a building with five rent controlled units, two of which are occupied, and the owner of the building sells off the other three, the two occupied units will continue to be rent controlled and belong to the landlord. If the landlord doesn’t want them and lowers the price by a bunch or makes a special offer to the tenants, people still don’t have to buy it. If people start to think being a landlord is risky and maybe not a great idea, good.

    • HakFoo@lemmy.sdf.org
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      11 months ago

      I suspect a lot of it is an opportunity-cost fixation. If I rent this unit to you today at $900/month, what happens if someone comes in tomorrow offering $1300 and I have to say “sold out.”

      I know with commercial space, the financing and valuation associated with the properties are dependent on specific rent levels, where it’s better for Wall Street to see an empty $4000 unit than a full $3000 one.

    • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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      11 months ago

      Holding out for a better deal seems like common behavior for anyone. You describe doing it yourself. However, the consequences of withholding housing are pretty bad. We need policies that convince landlords to cut their losses sooner and either accept lower rents or sell to buyers who will.

    • PowerCrazy@lemmy.ml
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      11 months ago

      Why not simply take the property from the “landowners” and possibly even jail them for being a leech on society? If you own property that you don’t live in, you are taxed at 100% of the property value if it’s not occupied. If you declare bankruptcy you immediately forfeit the property. Easy.

  • Coreidan@lemmy.world
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    11 months ago

    Great idea if you want to make poor people more poor.

    Why do y’all hate poor people so much? Is it like a racism thing or something?

      • EndOfLine@lemm.ee
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        11 months ago

        There is a long history of passing costs onto the consumer. If costs go up for empty units, rents go up on occupied units to cover and / or recoup those costs.

        This would also disincentives property owners from doing renovations by adding additional costs, since the units need to be vacant during construction.

        Without functional regulations and protections around rents and renters, all of the pressure will just gets pushed down stream to impact the most vulnerable.

        • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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          11 months ago

          That’s certainly a risk, but it might be easier said than done to raise rents if some landlords decide to bring their warehoused units back to market. Of course, if they’re colluding and what’s actually going on is a capital strike, then all bets are off. One way or another, capital needs to be disciplined.

          Absolutely, we need regulations to protect tenants and keep rents under control. We also need a massive effort to increase the supply of publicly owned housing. I think part of this has to include public acquisition of private housing, but it will help to start squeezing the landlords before hand with various measures in order to minimize the expenditure.

      • Sean@liberal.city
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        11 months ago

        @CrimeDad @Coreidan I don’t believe this, but I will give it a go in trying to steelman this argument.

        If landlords and real estate developers see a sector specific decrease in returns then they would decrease the capital in the sector and thus decrease the housing units made available for rent.

        This theory ignores the real world where developers opted-out of low-income housing in favor of luxury real estate that either remains vacant or unoccupied while the owner uses it as value storage

        • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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          11 months ago

          TIL what steelmanning is.

          At the end of the day, I don’t think the landlord problem will be fixed by adjusting incentives alone. They have to be combined with a massive project to build lots of publicly owned housing and the supporting infrastructure.

            • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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              11 months ago

              Are there some significant contradictions to their program? I’m not really familiar with Singapore or their housing policies, but it seems like they have a pretty low homelessness rate of 0.02%, which I suppose is a good sign. I know they have a very high population density, so maybe the high portion of government ownership helps with efficiency.

              • Sean@liberal.city
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                11 months ago

                @CrimeDad the low homelessness is due to the highest rate of public housing outside of self-identified socialist countries. The first several decades public housing was primarily for relocated squatters and shanty inhabitants, but since the 1980s they’ve promoted it for middle class and upper middle class improving the public housing stock.

        • Pulptastic@midwest.social
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          11 months ago

          Decreased capital in sector means landlords own fewer rental properties. Would this make home ownership more accessible?

  • aelwero@lemmy.world
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    11 months ago

    Pay income tax on income you aren’t collecting?

    I live in my house. The neighbor rents theirs. I have twice the square footage, and I maintain my house like it’s mine, whereas they maintain theirs like it’s a rental, which is to say my house is way fucking nicer… I don’t have the paper thin wall paneling with the lines millef in it to look like shiplap, and the babyshit green pile carpet out of the fucking 70’s, you know? That pileif shit rents for $1800/mo, and my mortgage is almost exactly $1k with homeowners, taxes, and warranty included. I don’t know what the fuck I could get if I rented it, but what you’re suggesting is that I should be obligated to pay income tax on what I might get??? Not the 1% property taxes, but like what? 30% or so?

    How about fuck no? Do you own a house? Do you want to own a house? What you’re suggesting could price anyone who makes less than a million dollars a year right the fuck out of the property ownership world… forever… That is a batshit crazy fucked up idea.

    • _NoName_@lemmy.ml
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      11 months ago

      It is possible to distinguish between home occupiers and renters, and were a law made like this some method of distinction would be needed.

      The entire purpose of a law like this would be to force renters to keep their lots occupied or sell them if they cannot afford to do so. Either way, you either see a drop in rent costs from a market increase, or you see a drop in real estate costs as the market increases. And either way you do not have tens of thousands of vacant homes while homelessness is on the rise.

    • idiomaddict@feddit.de
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      11 months ago

      You live in your house, it’s not a rental property. It would be very simple to have this law apply to properties 2+

    • AmosBurton_ThatGuy@lemmy.ca
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      11 months ago

      You mean to say people that are renting don’t spend their own hard earned money (a huge chunk of which goes to some greedy asshole) improving some other richer persons property? The horror! Won’t somebody think of the poor landlords? How dare they not consider the neighbors property values!

      🙄

    • CrimeDad@lemmy.crimedad.workOP
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      11 months ago

      Not sure what my personal situation has to do with it, but I am indeed a home owner. To be clear I don’t think you should have to pay property tax in addition to income tax on the imputed rent. It’s one or the other and I think income tax on imputed rent is fairer and makes more sense. In my case, if I were to pay income tax on the imputed rent of my house instead of the property tax, I would paying less than half of what I am now at current rates. I don’t think such a change would price people out of home ownership, but it might make people reconsider owning too much home.