Montrealers are preparing for a steep rise in their tax bill

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Montrealers are getting ready for a big hike in their tax bill

The value of residences jumped 35% in the City of Montreal's 2023-2025 property assessment roll.

The City of Montreal will present its budget in a week. Mayor Valérie Plante has already indicated that municipal taxes will increase by 3% to 6% due to inflation. However, for those who have seen the value of their home rise dramatically, the bill will be steeper.

Property tax is calculated based on property appraisal, which is reviewed every three years. The City of Montreal has just completed this exercise and the value of residences has increased by an average of 35% in Montreal in the 2023-2025 assessment roll.

The date of reference used for the calculations is July 1, 2021. The real estate market was then in full swing.

We are doing two things to ensure that there is not too big a financial shock for citizens. First, the role is spread over three years, which allows for a gradual increase. The second thing we do is lower the tax rate, says the president of the executive committee, Dominique Ollivier.

In the end , it is the owners whose value of the residence has increased more than the average who will see their tax bill climb the most.

This is the case of Laurence Harvey and Philippe Beaudin, two residents of Mercier–Hochelaga-Maisonneuve. This nurse and musician saw the value of their duplex jump 47% to $604,000.

I expect $500 per year of increase taxes, says the father of the family. Their last tax bill was $3,400.

So that's an extra expense for these two young, middle-class parents who are already feeling the brunt of inflation.

We really put in everything we had to buy, to become owners and no longer be tenants. 40% to 45% of our budget goes into it, it's still higher than what is recommended, says Laurence Harvey.

“This increase will lead to decisions: fewer outings, for sure, fewer restaurants.

—Laurence Harvey, Duplex Owner

Laurence Harvey and Philippe Beaudin with their daughter in their Mercier–Hochelaga duplex -Maisonneuve.

To establish property values, the City reviews approximately 25,000 real estate transactions per year. It is therefore the sale price of these buildings that is used to determine the value of all the others.

The Valuation Service provides variation indices by type of buildings – residential, commercial, industrial – and by locality, explains Me Sylvain Bélair, lawyer specializing in municipal law at De Grandpré Chait.

However, this mass appraisal process is not flawless since it does not take into account the particularities that could lower the value of a residence.

Water infiltration, a roof problem, a foundation problem or even cases where there has been neglected maintenance of the property, he cites as an example.

Homeowners who feel aggrieved can challenge their property assessment. According to data obtained by Radio-Canada, 2,774 Montreal owners took this step following the filing of the 2017-2019 property roll and 56% of them obtained a downward revision of the value of their property.

For the 2020-2022 role, the success rate of 1842 contestants reached 46%. In short, the owners won their case about half the time.

“This remedy is worth seeking out. be brought. It would be wrong to think that the machine being big, there is nothing to do. »

— Me Sylvain Bélair, lawyer specializing in municipal law at De Grandpré Chait

The spokesperson for the Montréal pour tous group, Pierre Pagé, also agrees. The system was made on the basis of house visits every nine years. But there, they don't visit anymore, so if the evaluator can't come, that distorts the overall picture a little, then it leads to errors, he says.

< p class="e-p">Its citizen group helps residents who wish to contest their property assessment, a process for which the City charges a fee. The amount required is $75 for owners of buildings worth $500,000 or less. It is $300 for those with properties worth between $500,000 and $2 million.

Owner of a duplex since 1976 on the Plateau Mont-Royal, Albania Morin has done the exercise twice in the past and emerged victorious each time. The City wrote down the value of his property by nearly $114,000 in 2014 and $37,000 three years later.

“I hadn't done a renovation since 1989. So comparing myself to houses that have had recent renovations at today's cost puts me on the same level , it does not hold.

—Albania Morin, Duplex Owner

Albania Morin challenged his property assessment twice and won.

These declines in value saved him hundreds, even thousands of dollars in municipal taxes. I am a retired person, my income is fixed, so I have to plan ahead, she says.

She does not know yet if she will challenge her assessment again this year . I can make all the preparations, ask the City to give me the comparables and see if it's worth it, she underlines.

President of the Executive Committee, Dominique Ollivier , recognizes that the evaluation process is not perfect.

If people feel their evaluation is way above value market, they should use the review mechanism, she argues.

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