MONTEREY, Calif. (KION) The city of Monterey is attempting to find different solutions to the affordable housing issue. In a study session meeting Wednesday, city councilmember Tyller Williamson proposed the idea of a vacancy tax.
The goal is to add an extra tax to homeowners who only live in Monterey part-time. Consultants determined that there are roughly 800 units in Monterey that aren’t occupied full time.
““We can really look to Carmel to what this problem creates,” Williamson said. "If you leave vacant homes those are one less home or two less homes for people that will live there in that community.”
Over the last decade, the city said there’s been a significant increase in vacant homes. Monterey plans to add 650 units in the next decade. Williamson said eliminating vacant properties would help solve the housing shortage.
The next step is to agendize the plan, and then get it on ballot in the coming years. However, there’s still a lot of logistics figure out.
“How long is someone leaving their home vacant for…how much are we going to charge? Is it going to be a flat dollar amount, or a percentage of the property value?” the councilmember said.
Those opposed say it would make already high California property taxes even higher. Others want a clear picture on who would fall into the category of the vacancy tax.
“It depends on how long it's vacant. If it's a project like this where we’re obviously working on it, to be charged on that, would make the construction market difficult since margins are already so thin with the cost of labor going up,” Monterey resident David Clark said.
A few other California cities including San Diego and San Francisco are considering a similar tax.
Williamson suggests the additional revenue for the city could go into affordable housing programs. If this eventually made it onto the ballot it would likely just be property owners who would have a vote.