Vacant Property Tax (VPT)

About Oakland's Vacant Property Tax

Property owners in the City of Oakland will be notified by mail beginning the week of February 18, 2021 about the possible application of the Oakland Vacant Property Tax to their property. If you are mailed a notice of vacancy and you believe your property was not vacant in calendar year 2020 or is exempt from the Vacant Property Tax, you should review this website and your letter carefully for instructions on how to submit verification information.

Overview

On November 6, 2018, Oakland voters approved Measure W, the Oakland Vacant Property Tax (“VPT”). The VPT Act establishes an annual tax of $3,000 to $6,000 on vacant property. A property is considered “vacant” if it is “in use less than fifty (50) days in a calendar year,” and not subject to any of ten (10) exemptions. The special tax rates are shown below:

Property Type 2020 Special Tax Rate

Residential

$6,000 per parcel

Condominium, duplex, or townhome unit under separate ownership

$3,000 per vacant residential unit

Nonresidential

$6,000 per parcel

Parcel with ground floor commercial activity allowed but vacant

$3,000 per parcel

Undeveloped

$6,000 per parcel

What this means

On November 19, 2019, the Oakland City Council adopted Ordinance No. 13571 clarifying the definition of vacant, and further defining the ten (10) allowable exemptions. The allowable exemptions for qualified owners and properties are:

  • A. “Very Low Income”
  • B. “Financial Hardship”
  • C. “Demonstrable Hardship Unrelated to Personal Finances”
  • D. “Exceptional Specific Circumstances”
  • E. “Active Construction”
  • F. “Building Permit Application”
  • G. “Low Income Senior”
  • H. “Disabled Owner”
  • I. “Non-profit Organization
  • J. “Substantially Complete Application for Planning”

If you are mailed a notice of vacancy, the notice will list a property you own that has been identified based on available data as likely vacant during calendar year 2020. This initial determination notice provides the opportunity to file a “Petition of Vacancy” or apply for one of the ten (10) allowable exemptions. In order to submit a qualified exemption and be granted relief from the VPT, exemption applications must be completed and returned within twenty (20) days of the date of notice, and include appropriate evidence demonstrating that the property was not vacant or was entitled to an exemption.

To file a Petition of Vacancy or apply for one of the ten (10) allowable exemptions, register for access to the Oakland Vacant Property Tax Portal using your Assessor’s Parcel Number and Registration ID, found on the notice of vacancy you received by mail. Registration, and all applications, and requirements and instructions can be accessed through the Oakland Vacant Property Tax Portal:

APPLY ONLINE: https://vacantpropertytax.oaklandca.gov/register.aspx

Questions?

If you have any questions or require assistance with the process, please contact the Vacant Property Tax administrator toll free at (855) 831-1188 or vptsupport@sci-cg.com.

Qualified exemption applications and petitions will be reviewed, and the City may request further clarification or information. Upon review and approval of an application, the City will issue a confirmation, within approximately 120 days.

Sincerely,

City of Oakland

Finance Department