Montreal property owners

Complacency could cost Montreal property owners

Tuesday, August 27, 2019

Some Montreal property owners could find themselves on short notice ahead of the city’s next three-year assessment cycle, which is set to begin in 2020. Proposed changes to Quebec’s Act Respecting Municipal Taxation will tighten the timeline for disputing the property values ascribed to smaller apartment and commercial buildings assessed at less than $3 million.

Currently, owners of properties valued at $1 million or greater have 120 days from the day the municipality dispatches its assessment notices to request a review of the evaluation. The deadline for the remainder of ratepayers — typically single-family homeowners — is May 1 or 60 days after the mail-out of assessment notices, whichever date is later.

Unless modifications to the property trigger a reassessment, Quebec ratepayers only have the opportunity to appeal assessed values during the first year of the three-year cycle. After the initial appeal period in 2020, Montreal’s assessment roll — based on values as of July 1, 2018 — will be largely locked in until 2023.

New measures proposed in the omnibus Bill 16, which was introduced in the Quebec legislative assembly last April, would raise the threshold to qualify for the 120-day time limit to properties valued at a minimum of $3 million. Meanwhile, owners of larger properties may have to become more proactive about monitoring those values since municipal governments would also gain the flexibility to cease delivering printed assessment notices by mail if the assessment roll is posted on the municipality’s website.

The timing of the assessment cycle is staggered across Quebec, placing Montreal property owners first in line to be subject to the proposed new rules. Quebec City and several suburban cities near Montreal launched a new three-year run in 2019, while Gatineau’s next cycle begins in 2021.

Changes to assessment procedures are among a smaller number of amendments in Bill 16 that have implications for commercial landlords. The proposed Act focuses more extensively on the residential sector, including numerous amendments pertaining to procedures of the rental housing regulator, the Régie du Logement, and to the governance of residential co-ownership buildings. Other amendments address the certification of building inspectors and skilled trades on construction sites.

After a summer recess, a committee of Quebec’s legislative assembly has resumed the clause-by-clause consideration of the bill that began in late May. Montreal’s assessment roll is due to be posted later this fall.

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