Property owners in the City of Oakland will be notified by mail beginning the week of February 17, 2020 about the possible application of the Oakland Vacant Property Tax to their property. If you are mailed a notice of vacancyand you believe your property was not vacant in calendar year 2019 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.
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About Oakland's Vacant Property Tax
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||2019 Special Tax Rate|
$6,000 per parcel *
Condominium, duplex, or townhome unit under separate ownership
$3,000 per vacant residential unit
$6,000 per parcel
Parcel with ground floor commercial activity allowed but vacant
$3,000 per parcel
$3,000 per parcel (use code 1000)
$6,000 per parcel (any other use code)
* Pursuant to Resolution 87916 C.M.S., any “vacant residential land, zoned 4 units or less” (Alameda County Use Code 1000) shall be levied at a maximum rate of $3,000.00 for calendar year 2019.
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 2019. 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.
All exemption applications, petition of vacancy, and requirements and instructions can be accessed at the link provided below. Applications may be submitted by email to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by mail to
City of Oakland VPT
c/o VPT Administrator
5627 Telegraph Ave
Oakland, CA 94609
Please note the above address is a commercial mail receiving agency and not an office.
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.
For any questions or assistance, please contact the Vacant Property Tax administrator toll free at (855) 831-1188 or email@example.com.
City of Oakland