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Cities Sic the Taxman on Vacant ‘Ghost Homes’

Is an abundance of vacant units worsening the Bay Area’s housing crisis? That’s what some politicians have suggested. Their solution: a new tax on landlords who leave residential and commercial properties unrented. Oakland will vote in November and an S.F. measure is being planned for 2019. Vancouver, Melbourne and Paris already levy such taxes.

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Housing Speculators Again in Political Crosshairs

In their 2018 mayoral campaigns, former state senator Mark Leno and Supervisor Jane Kim emphasized the role of speculators in driving gentrification and displacement in San Francisco. A tax or lawsuits would target ‘flippers’ to protect tenants and rental housing. A 2014 measure failed. But S.F. voters may again be asked again whether speculators should be taxed.