The B.C. Assessment Authority has lowered a local manufactured home owner’s assessment after she questioned an increase of nearly 800 per cent.
Angelique Houlihan could not understand how her Houston Trailer Park residence, a single wide plus extensions, could jump in value from $6,500 to $58,400 in just one year.
So she sent the authority an email through its website and the answer came via a phone call last week from an appraiser.
“He said there should have been safeguards in place for this kind of thing not to happen. He really didn’t know why it happened,” Houlihan recounted of the conversation.
The appraiser said her assessment will be lowered to $15,000, a figure that’s satisfactory to Houlihan.
Several years ago she had asked the authority to increase the assessed value of her residence to that amount to reflect the improvements she had made since purchasing the property.
“I’m really happy with the result. He apologized and he was very polite. He said there was nothing I needed to do and that he would take care of things,” said Houlihan of the conversation.
She said the assessed value of a second home at the park, also dramatically increased, will be decreased.
Houlihan had been worried the huge increase would result in her having to pay more property taxes, something she said might have meant having to sell.
“But even if I did, I’d have to find another place to live,” she added.
Provincial privacy legislation won’t permit B.C. Assessment Authority officials from commenting directly on Houlihan’s situation, but deputy assessor David Keough said that the best thing property owners can do if concerned about their assessment is to contact an appraiser.
“Some situations where an assessment may be changed are if a property owner did renovations to a property that BC Assessment were not aware of, if a property owner demolished a garage without a permit. These are just a few examples. Appraisers make decisions on market value with the information they have and the inquiry period allows property owners to provide more information about their property,” he said.
“By calling into our offices, it allows our appraisers to confirm the information about a property and ensure it is reflected correctly on their assessment as market value,” Keough added.
The assessment authority uses sales data based on an established snapshot date of July 1 each year to help establish valuations which are then sent out to homeowners each January. It will also do physical assessments in October.
The valuations are then used by local governments to determine property taxation levels.