To the editor:
I am not sure what the most suitable headline for this letter should be: Botched Property Assessment Alarming; Property Assessment Compliment is Costly; or Be Careful What you Wish For. All headlines are suitable, given the nature of what has transpired regarding my property assessment for 2015.
It started with Helen Gill’s letter to the Capital News, dated Jan. 28 which mentions ridiculous and arbitrary property assessment values, as if numbers were drawn from a hat. (Why Have Property Assessments for Kelowna Homes Gone Crazy?)
I received my 2015 assessment and had noticed an increase but was not surprised given the recent announcements that property taxes will rise as BC Assessment plays catchup to make property assessments more in line with home values. Thanks to Helen I revisited my assessment and did notice that, overall, the assessed value rose 20 per cent.
I then noticed, on the back side of the assessment paper, that I could compare my assessment with other homes in the area, or anywhere in B.C., by going to evaluebcassessment.ca.
What I found was incredible. Doing some basic math, my building value had risen 56 per cent and my land value had gone down 5.3 per cent. My surrounding neighbour’s assessments didn’t jive either with one home, a freshly renovated home, building value going up 30 per cent and another renovated home, not nearly as nice as the other, going up 82 per cent.
I noticed a lot of other discrepancies on my street and in the area.
I contacted BC Assessment to ask why my building value rose 56 per cent and was told that I had done a renovation in my basement. Problem is I don’t have a basement.
This was corrected to I did a renovation on my split level. Problem is I don’t have a split level (wouldn’t there be a permit for this?)
I was then told to appeal. I went through the process of appealing but before that the Kelowna BC Assessment office called and it was decided that someone from the office should come out to my home for clarification that the information that they have on the house, for years it seems, is obviously inaccurate and should be updated.
I had moved into the home in 2013 and there were two renovations done prior to this and felt it would be best if the inspector came to see that I had done nothing structural to my home. The inspector came and explained that this past year a 45 degree angle aerial photo was taken of each home in the area and it showed that I had a downstairs put in under my garage. He apologized for this error. Noting the recent, extensive landscaping he explained that landscaping is not counted in assessment and is of no value.
He noted that my home is one floor, that the kitchen was upgraded in 2002 and an addition in 1998 was noted. He noted that my front yard view was taken last year when the family across the street built a boxy-secondary suite.
I assumed that my assessment, now with accurate specs, would go down to where it should be, perhaps near to an overall rise of 15 per cent.
I later got an email from Kelowna BC Assessment stating that given the overall quality of my home (the inspector really liked it) and the quality of the renovations done before I moved in (done over 13 years ago) that the value of the home is actually more, but the land value will go down given the loss of view.
In the end I was left with a rise of 25 per cent overall and a rise of building value close to 70 per cent. So, which heading is more suitable for this letter?