Just when the rental housing industry thought it had seen it all, a new trend is emerging across California: More and more, cities are considering measures that would tax property owners for keeping a unit vacant.

Some cities, counties, and tenant advocates incorrectly assert that owners are purposely keeping rental units off the market, thus contributing to our state’s housing shortage. These beliefs pay no mind to owners’ reliance on rental income to cover a wide range of expenses, such as mortgage payments and supporting the salaries of the people who manage rental properties. 

At present, only a few cities have these kinds of taxes, with Oakland and Vancouver, B.C., Canada, offering the closest examples.   

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