The New Brunswick Apartment Owners Association (NBAOA) is calling on the New Brunswick government to eliminate the double property taxes placed on apartments across the province.
“The first year you would save $20, the second year you would save $40, 20 plus 20 and the third year you would save $60, so that per month over the three-year period will be a savings to the tenant of about $1,800,” claims Willie Scholte, a spokesperson for NBAOA.
Apartment owners are currently taxed by the municipality and province on all non-owner-occupied residential buildings. New Brunswick is the only province in Canada that charges double property taxes and tax bills on these types of apartments. The cost is nearly twice as high as the rest of the Maritimes, and more than two and a half times higher than those in the rest of Canada.
That information has come as shock to many apartment renters.
“I don’t think it’s fair. If you want to tax people, do it once and be done with it,” said Fredericton resident Ellen Pitt. “Basically, you’re hiding the tax so that people aren’t as aware of it.”
According to NBAOA, property tax is the single largest expense for landlords, and their bills that get passed along to tenants.
The organization intends on making this an election issue.
Opposition Leader Blaine Higgs says the Conservatives would like to eliminate the tax, but timelines will be an issue if the PCs are elected.
“It’s about us getting more done not about spending more, and so let’s find a way within that envelope to manage this. Because my goal is to eliminate it,” said Higgs.
As for the association, they’d like to see legislation put in place that would have the rentalsman oversee it.
“It’s not a complete loss to the province, at the end of the day. We think it will just spin back into the economy on an on-going basis,” added Scholten.
The association claims the tax is driving away investment and discourages developers at a time when the province is trying to grow.
“We just want a level playing field,” says Scholten. “This tax issue has been dogging apartment owners in the province for years. There’s no reason for it. And worse, it’s hurting New Brunswick’s economy and its growth potential.”