Considering the vacancy tax

Landlords are notorious for having a bias toward raising the rent. They’re in it for the long haul, they’ve seen downturns before, and while they’re quick to raise rents in good times, they are loathe to lower rents, even if it means sitting with an empty storefront for months at a time.

While this math might be compelling for some landlords, it’s terrible for the cities those buildings are located in.

Empty storefronts deny residents accessible services.

They lead to vandalism and other crime.

And they suck the vibrancy from the neighborhood.

They also deprive the municipality from sales tax revenue, cost jobs and take watchful eyes away from the neighborhood as well.

If we view the ability to have a well-cared for, civil neighborhood as a privilege, it’s logical to consider a vacancy tax for landlords as an incentive for them to lower rents when decreased demand happens because retailers can’t afford the old rent.

It could be something like: For any storefront that’s empty, after two months of vacancy, the landlord has to pay a tax of 20% of the average rent they’d be receiving. All the money would go to neighborhood improvements and policing.

Lower rents create new innovations, which leads to more interaction and more vibrant neighborhoods. And in the long run, it gives landlords an incentive to do what actually generates more of what they seek as well.