In June, Vice Mayor Kate Harrison introduced a proposal at Berkeley City Council’s meeting that would ask voters to weigh in on whether to tax the owners of multi unit buildings, single-family homes and condominiums owned by a corporation or LLC that have been empty for more than a year. Harrison said the proposal will help address the city’s housing crisis because it will encourage property owners to rent out empty units.
If Harrison’s proposal makes the ballot, Berkeley would follow similar measures or proposals raised in Oakland and San Francisco, whereby Oakland’s vacant property made about $7 million in its first year of implementation. A staff report estimates that it could also result in 1,000 vacant units becoming available for rent. If the council approves Harrison’s measure, the city attorney will develop language for a ballot measure. The council has until July to decide whether it will be placed on the ballot.
Vice Mayor Harrison will be speaking about the goals and process for the proposal, and a Q&A will be available to discuss how such a proposal could be crafted for the unique needs of the North Tahoe Truckee region, where a significant majority of our region’s housing stock consists of vacant second homes, compared to cities like Berkeley, Oakland, and San Francisco.
Kate Harrison, Vice Mayor of the City of Berkeley