Realty Assessments – Should You Consider an Appeal?

Condominium common elements are generally exempt from realty assessment and taxation, subject to certain exceptions noted in Section 15 of the Condominium Act, 1998. But condominium corporations can also own land. For instance, condominium corporations may own one or more:

  1. Units in the condominium
  2. Parcels of land containing amenities or containing facilities shared with other properties
  3. Parcels of land for other reasons.

If so, you may have recently received the 2016 Assessment Notice from MPAC (the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation) in relation to those lands owned by the corporation.

If you’ve received an Assessment Notice, this raises the following question: Should you appeal?

Note that the “Request for Reconsideration” deadline, which is the first step in the appeal process, is 120 days from the date of the Property Assessment Notice (the deadline is printed on the Notice). Thereafter, MPAC will send a letter with its decision. If you disagree with MPAC’s decision, an appeal to the Assessment Review Board can be commenced within 90 days. Of course, an appeal makes sense any time a property has been “over assessed”, in that it has been assessed at a market value that is unfair in comparison with other similar properties in the vicinity. But there’s another reason for condominium corporations to consider an appeal: some properties owned by condominium corporations should be assessed at nominal value.

A number of recent decisions of the Assessment Review Board (ARB) have confirmed that property owned by a condominium corporation should in many cases be treated as having nominal value (for purposes of realty assessment and taxation) if the value of that property is already included in the assessed values of all of the units in the condominium.

A recent example was the 2013 case of Toronto Standard Condominium Corporation No. 1498 v. Municipal Property Assessment Corporation. In that case, the ARB held that superintendent units owned by condominium corporations should often be treated as having nominal or negligible value (for realty tax purposes) – resulting in realty taxes close to zero on those units.

The reason was as follows: all other units in the condominiums were assessed and taxed based upon the presence of on-site superintendents in the condominiums. So, the value of the superintendent units had already been included in the value of all other units. Or, in other words, a superintendent unit is in many cases “akin to common elements” for purposes of realty assessment and taxation.

These same principles can apply to many other types of land owned by condominium corporations – not just superintendent units. In recent years, we’ve handled a number of assessment appeals on behalf of our condominium clients, with excellent results.

The bottom line is as follows: any condominium corporation that owns land and has received a 2016 Assessment Notice showing a higher-then-nominal value for that land should consider the following question: “Should I appeal?”

If you have questions about your Assessment Notice and whether you should appeal, contact our Condominium Law group today.