Vacant Properties

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Vacant unit tax

Beginning in 2023, individual residential units such as apartments, condominiums, or houses can be subject to a 1 per cent vacant unit tax if they are not in use as a principal residence and have been unoccupied for more than 184 days in the calendar year, with limited exemptions.

The tax does not apply to:

  • Principal residences
  • Tenanted properties
  • Properties occupied by a family member, friend, or other resident using it as their principal residence

The vacant unit tax is intended to encourage homeowners to maintain, occupy or rent their properties to increase the housing supply.

Visit the vacant unit tax webpage for more information, including the full list of exemptions.

Vacant property permit

Vacant lots and vacant buildings that have been unoccupied for 120 consecutive days are required to have a vacant property permit.

The vacant property permit system is intended to increase accountability for the owners of vacant buildings and lands, prevent neglect and the harmful impacts it can cause in the community, and encourage the redevelopment or repurposing of existing vacant properties.

Apply for a vacant property permit.

For more information:

Vacant property permit exemptions

Exemptions are provided for:

  • Homes that are in use as a principal residence but where the occupant is away for an extended period of travel or work
  • Cottages and seasonal homes
  • Agricultural properties and rural properties (other than heritage properties) in zones AG, ME, MR, RC, RG, RH, RI and RU
  • Natural areas and greenspace
  • Development lands set aside for new parks and schools
  • Lands that are legally authorized parking lots with no buildings

A two-year fee exemption is also provided where the property has become vacant due to:

  • The death of the owner
  • The owner being in care in a hospital, hospice, long-term care facility, assisted living residence, or home for special care
  • Damage caused by catastrophic events such as fire, flooding or extreme weather

By-law requirements for vacant buildings and lands

Vacant buildings and lands must comply with:

Vacant properties must be kept clean and free of:

  • Waste
  • Debris
  • Pests
  • Graffiti
  • Any other health or safety hazards

The owners of vacant properties must:

  • Prominently display a contact notice including an in-service, up to date, and actively monitored phone number
  • Attend vacant property at least once every 14 days to identify and remediate any violations of municipal by-laws on the property
  • Maintain a log of any violations of municipal by-laws and any remedial actions undertaken, including the date the property was visited
  • Maintain civic numbering on the vacant building
  • Inform the Director of By-law and Regulatory Services of any hazardous conditions on the property

Heritage conservation

Help protect Ottawa’s built heritage. Visit Heritage conservation to find out if your building has a heritage designation and learn about your responsibilities as an owner.

Renovating or re-developing a vacant property


Building or renovating page for information about:

  • Building permit applications and process
  • Building requirements


Developing a property page for information about:

  • Development applications
  • Required studies and plans

The good neighbours guide (Infill construction)

Use the Good Neighbours Guide – infill construction to learn how to:

  • Avoid common complaints
  • Communicate effectively with neighbours
  • Obtain the necessary permits
  • Where to get help when needed