Shuswap woman starts petition to stop ‘excessive’ property assessment hikes

Click to play video: 'Petition aims to fight skyrocketing property assessments' Petition aims to fight skyrocketing property assessments
Petition aims to fight skyrocketing property assessments – Jan 26, 2022

Pat Peebles is angry and upset over this year’s property assessments.

“It was unfair at this time to do something like this,” she told Global News. “And shameful.”

Peebles’ assessment on her Salmon Arm property went up by 40 per cent, while the value on her rental home in Vernon jumped up 68 per cent.

However, she’s expressing frustration about the overall jump that affects most homeowners in British Columbia.

Read more: 2022 BC Assessment shows a significant jump in property values  

The 2022 B.C. assessments are up significantly right across the board, on average 30 to 40 per cent — in some cases, even higher.

“It sets a baseline that says that our property values could keep climbing from there, that nobody is going to stop this,” she said.

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The assessments are based on real estate market values on July 1 of the previous year. At that time in 2021, the market was said to be very robust.

“I’ve been doing it for 28 years,” said Okanagan area deputy assessor Tracy Wall when the assessment went out in early January. “I’ve never seen a jump like quite to this degree.”

Click to play video: 'Open House: BC’s most expensive properties' Open House: BC’s most expensive properties
Open House: BC’s most expensive properties – Jan 8, 2022

Peebles argues 2021 was anything but a typical year, and so the annual assessments should be treated differently.

“It’s a COVID market, so let’s look at that and realize that this isn’t real,” Peebles said. “This is unrealistic.

“Our construction costs are through the roof. It’s all relative to supply and demand because of the pandemic. And we haven’t recovered, so to increase now before the province heals and then becomes a normal market again … it’s just gouging and it’s unfair.”

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Peebles feels the government should have intervened because of the impact rising assessments will have on home-ownership attainability.

“Young people in tomorrow’s world will never be able to own a home if this keeps up because the cost of wages isn’t going up proportionate to this,” she said. “The amount of money they have to save to get in the door for a purchase for a basic shack would be not doable.”

Peebles has written a letter to B.C.’s premier, outlining reasons why the assessments are what she calls “morally wrong.”

Read more: New B.C. assessments raise questions about cost of property transfer tax

She has also launched an online petition to fight the assessment increases, saying it gives concerned people a chance to oppose them.

She hopes to add many more signatures to the 300-plus she has already collected before the looming Jan. 31 deadline to appeal assessments.

In an email to Global News, the Ministry of Finance, which oversees the B.C. Assessment Authority, stated “the Assessment Act requires that B.C. Assessment evaluates the market value of properties across the province every year.”

It went on to say that “the B.C. government continues to work to ensure people have access to homes they can afford to rent or buy through the 10-year plan, Homes for B.C., which is the largest investment in housing in B.C.’s history.”

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The ministry added that it is working with partners to build 114,000 affordable homes over 10 years, and that four years into our plan, more than 30,000 homes are already completed or are underway throughout the province.

Click to play video: 'Property assessments reach unprecedented levels across B.C.' Property assessments reach unprecedented levels across B.C.
Property assessments reach unprecedented levels across B.C – Jan 4, 2022

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