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Thread: MCAP property assessment values - did anyone challenge them?

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    Smart Canuck tobiwobi's Avatar
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    I am about to request that MCAP looks at my property and reconsiders their valuation. I wonder if anyone went through this process and what their experience was?

    I live in a condo in Toronto. Condo prices have dipped this fall and will likely continue to fall. Realtors and newspapers may deny it and downplay it, but all of us living in condos and tracking activity in our own buildings know it.

    MCAP used resale figures from when the condo market was still hot.

    Now, MCAP tells you to go on their website and look up values for properties in your area - I did, and it turns out these are all not based on recent sales but values that MCAP assigned these properties, and they are all overvalued.

    I actually cannot sell my condo right now for the price that MCAP has determined it is worth. In spring 2012 and earlier, when condo market was at its frenziest, I probably could have.

    From what I can tell, you first submit a request for MCAP to reconsider their valuation (For free), and then they send you their letter with their findings. If you still disagree, you then go to some tribunal and must pay to file an application for them to look at your case. I wonder if anyone had any experience with this tribunal, is it expensive? Are they useful?

    I am going to guess this is going to be a bigger issue in Toronto than just me being affected.

    EDIT: oppss it's MPAC not MCAP. MCAP keeps spamming me all the time, taht's why I got them confused
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    Last edited by tobiwobi; Thu, Nov 1st, 2012 at 09:28 AM.
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    Canadian Guru jasperandchar's Avatar
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    I`ve had several successful results in dealing with MPAC with respect to the value on my property. I wrote them a letter with all my points that I wanted to bring across and showed them comparables not exact because they don`t exist and every time, I`ve received a lower assessment and paid less taxes because of this.

    Best of luck!
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    http://canadianmoneyforum.com/showth...ment-challenge


    http://www.canadianjusticereviewboar...troduction.htm
    How to successfully appeal your assessment without a lawyer
    Saturday, 03 March 2007

    The Toronto Times

    By William Tatsiou, former member of the Assessment Review Board and solicitor

    How to successfully appeal your assessment and reduce your taxes without a lawyer. For residential appeals:

    1. Serve MPAC with a Request for Reconsideration and give reasons why your assessment is too high. If you appeal and subsequently settle you get a refund of the fee. Moreover, MPAC will often agree with you and give you a reduction to avoid an appeal to the Assessment Review Board.

    2. Ask MPAC for the subject Property Summary Report for your home to review and correct any errors in MPAC's records. For instance, if your home is one storey and MPAC's records show a two storey home the assessment will reflect incorrect informaiton.

    3. Ask MPAC to confirm how the property was assessed and what comparables MPAC used. MPAC's Property Comparison Report is free but most homeowners fail to ask for this report and only end up getting it on the day of the hearing at the Assessment Review Board. At the hearing the owner has very little time to review MPAC's report and the owner is at a great disadvantage conducting the hearing. Here MPAC enjoys an advantage because it has access to confidential information months in advance of the hearing.

    4. Prepare a list of six comparables in the vicinity and ask MPAC to prepare and provide for you the Owner's Property Comparables Report (again this is free). This will have detailed information such as total square footage, number of bathrooms and fireplaces and the quality class of the home. This information is not available from your real estate agent. Moreover, MPAC will do all your work in this regard for free. This is were the system levels the playing field. Most people do not know their rights and fail to take advantge of their legal rights. They get frustrated and angry but some of this emotion arises out of ignorance as they cannot understand the Multiple Regression Analysis Model. Therefore you should keep things simple.

    5. Review all the sales of similar homes on both the Owner's Property Comparables Report and MPAC's Property Comparison Report (both prepared for you for free and will often include six comparables for both parties for a total of 12). Look at the range of sales: the high and low; look at the average (take all the sale prices and total them up and then divide by the number of sales) and median (the middle sale within the range). Do the same for the assessments (even with a sale MPAC may assess the comparable differently) . Compare the results to your assessment.

    6. To adjust for larger and smaller homes you can do the same analysis
    on a dollar per square foot for total building area. For example, if your house is 1000 square feet and is assessment at $100,000 the assessment is $100 per square foot for total building area. Do the same for all the comparables. This allows you to compare apples and apples.

    7. If your assessment is higher than the average and median you are over assessed. This an objective test. There is no emotion as mathematics and statistics do not allow for anger or other emotions that are subjective.

    8. Always remember the onus is on the person complaining (most often the home owner). In some cases the mucipality or MPAC will complain your assessment is too low and they become the complainant.

    9. Most home owners fail to introduce any evidence and lose before they even start as the onus is on the complainant ( the home owner in your case if you appeal your assessment).

    10. In Ontario the leading case is Viva where the Divisional Court held that the best evidence of correct current value is an arm's length sale of the subject property close to the valuation date. Notwithstanding the Viva decision MPAC and some members of the Assessment Review Board may still require corroborating evidence ( such as a second sale, letter of opinion or appraisal). This is often the case where the owner purchased the property from a bank under power of sale or from an estate.
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    Smart Canuck tobiwobi's Avatar
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    Thank you!

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    Smart Canuck tobiwobi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by tjthemanto View Post

    7. If your assessment is higher than the average and median you are over assessed. This an objective test. There is no emotion as mathematics and statistics do not allow for anger or other emotions that are subjective.
    My whole argument is that my assessment is higher than what (larger than mine) condo units in my building are listing for Right Now. It may not be higher than average and median, depending on the time frame used to calculate the average and median, because they were selling higher before. So I'm confused. But still, I think they should be assessing my current value, although not sure.
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    Ilovecoupons!
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    I submitted a Request for Reconsideration a few years ago and my property was reassessed at a lower amount Not sure how the whole valuation thing works, but they they valued my home at a certain amount in January 2009 and I took possession of the home that fall. The amount they assessed it at as of January was higher than what I paid so I used that as my argument. I also used comparables in the neighbourhood. I'm on a busier street and homes on a court were assessed lower than mine, even though they were the same size, same lot, etc.

    I nearly chocked when I saw the new assessment last month!! A house in my neighbourhood sold a few months ago so I checked to see what MPAC assessed them at ... it was 16% higher than what the house sold for! Needless to say, I will be submitting another Request for Reconsideration this year!

    As long as you're providing good arguments, comparables, you've got a shot at lowering your assessed value which hopefully lowers your taxes!! Good luck
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    Dancing bean paste bun Ciel's Avatar
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    Hmm, I'm glad this topic came up an to see the link about the process.

    My only encounter with MPAC was a trip to the Hamilton office (2007)-somehow, their records indicated that this home had 5 bedrooms. I asked where the other 2 bedrooms were as the home is a one-storey unit with 3 BD, 1LR, 1 BATH, 1 Kitchen then the basement (no bedrooms, no bathroom). I also was not certain that the year of building was right--it was known that the original owner lived in the standalone garage while he was building the house. So the date could have been the garage's build date. But don't know for sure.
    The assessment value-in our neighbourhood, there are very few one-storey homes left in a similar style and a few of them have been redone or lost to fire so comparing them to this one is a challenge. Also, at least two developments have sprung up at either end of the road over the years and they do not qualify for comparison purposes either. I'd probably have to look for the few remaining homes on other streets farther away to get some idea of values.
    In the summer of same year, I had a chat with a gent I saw on my walks. He discovered that MPAC had his daughter's house details all wrong on their record, indicating she had certain things in her home which did not exist. He found out that MPAC put the wrong house information in-the details on her home record belonged to another home in the survey.

    So I would suggest you first go to your local office and get MPAC to show you what they have for your condo information (rooms, fireplaces, no. of bathrooms). If anything's wrong, you can ask on the spot for corrections to be made.

    *Another reason it's a good idea to determine the correct assessment value now. Your taxes are based on your assessment so if you can show that the condo is overvalued, you'll probably notice that the taxes next year are a little easier to bear. In Hamilton, the newspaper is suggesting a 1% tax hike might happen to help cover the shortfall in provincial budget for welfare and discretionary expenses. I'm sure Toronto has some tax hikes coming along as well.
    Last edited by Ciel; Fri, Nov 2nd, 2012 at 10:09 AM.
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    Smart Canuck tobiwobi's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by lealgen View Post
    I nearly chocked when I saw the new assessment last month!! A house in my neighbourhood sold a few months ago so I checked to see what MPAC assessed them at ... it was 16% higher than what the house sold for! Needless to say, I will be submitting another Request for Reconsideration this year!
    Yea, everyone in my neighbourhood is assessed higher.

    I have serious issues with their statement that you should log onto their website to 'determine if your assessment is accurate'. This info is useless if they overvalued everyone else too. People really need to go to MLS.ca to see listings, and somehow have access to realtor data to see what comparables sold for in order to determine if their assessment is accurate. I almost wanna complain to some consumer agency about that. I don't think MPAC should mislead people like that.
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    Smart Canuck lilo0003's Avatar
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    we just recieved our notice of assessment and they have valued our house at 150 000 less than its value, but having just done a significant upgrade to the exterior we expect a reassessment
    we were hit hard with a crazy increase about 10 yrs ago and never thought to fight it but in the long run thankfully the values accelerated very quickly.
    OP: goodluck with your fight.
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    Dancing bean paste bun Ciel's Avatar
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    Bumping this thread-this is the last week plus a day to have MPAC reconsider your property's assessment value, as the value
    on their database is going to be used for 2017-2020 property taxes. Just the thing you want to do before the return to Standard Time!

    https://www.mpac.ca/HowAssessmentWor...YourAssessment
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    Unfortunately the homes that have recently sold tend to have their assessments increase the most. My next door neighbour is the original owner since the 50's and has the lowest assessment in our area. I filed a complaint a few months ago online and am still waiting for a reply.
    Last edited by barbis9; Wed, Oct 26th, 2016 at 06:09 PM.
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    Dancing bean paste bun Ciel's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by barbis9 View Post
    Unfortunately the homes that have recently sold tend to have their assessments increase the most. My next door neighbour is the original owner since the 50's and has the lowest assessment in our area. I filed a complaint a few months ago online and am still waiting for a reply.
    That is a long wait for a reply. My area has been moving on up for most properties so it's getting ridiculous trying to find a comparable home (age, style, similar interior) for assessment purposes. One that might be similar and on the street has had at least two renos inside for various reasons (the signs on the lot and oh yes a fire).
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    tightwad and proud of it! brunt's Avatar
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    I have successfully appealed an assessment, not for me, but a friend.

    Before I delve into the details, I will state up front that I am sympathetic to MPAC. I am a math type person, and I will admit that MPAC has been tasked with a very difficult problem - maintaining a database of up to date market values for a mind boggling variety of properties in the presence of an ever changing market. I am in no way connected to MPAC, but I just recognize the magnitude of the problem that they face on a daily basis.

    Having said that, what appears to be an uncaring and bullying organization is a direct result of of the magnitude of the problem and the fact that they receive volumes of what amounts to petty appeals with little basis in fact.

    The property that I appealed was waaaaay over assessed. Like roughly four times the actual market value.

    We gathered as much information as we could, and made our best case, namely:
    1. We identified a major error in the assessment. The property was assessed as two separate parcels, each one half the area of the total. In reality, it was one single parcel. In my opinion, identifying a factual error increases the likelihood of success dramatically, as there is no question that something has to be addressed, so you other arguments are more likely to be addressed if you get your foot in the door.
    2. Assess the comparables. In our case, their "comparables" were not in the same township (something that you outside of MPAC are not allowed to do), just outside of town, on paved roads. My friend's property was far out of town, with no road access at all. We took pictures to show the grass path access, and included satellite images as well from Google Earth. We found more suitable comparables within the township that we proposed instead.
    3. We made our argument as a progression of indisputable facts - we kept emotion out of it, and avoided any sort of thing that sounded like "the taxes are too high". Remember, they don't set the tax rate, their only job is to evaluate the market value of your property.
    4. We prepared the assessment using a laser printer, and made it clean and easy to navigate. We included sticky tabs for each of the sections. We weren't going for points for being pretty, but rather making easy to navigate.
    5. Remember, your appeal is not being reviewed by an evil corporation, but just some working schlub like you or me. Don't come across as a whiner, they hear enough of that from everyone else. Make your argument easy to follow, they have a stack of appeals to work through, so don't make it difficult to do yours. But most of all, be brief, how the high taxes are affecting you does not matter, all that matters is successfully making the argument that MPAC's assessment on your property is too high, and present your facts to justify what you think it should be.


    In the end, the assessment was reduced, but not to the true market value (closer to about 30% over market). We could have appealed that, but the increased taxes just weren't worth it. So we were happy to have taxes go from about 400% of what they should be to 130%.
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    They have 180 days apparently to reply. I did get a letter confirming that they received my complaint about the assessment. Now I just have to wait for their reply and decide whether or not to file an appeal for $50.
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    Smart Canuck tobiwobi's Avatar
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    Oh Wow I am the original poster on this, Ages ago!!!

    update on my original post - I won the decrease in my property value, simply on the basis that I could not sell my condo for the amount MPAC appraised me for. I provided mls listings and solds that were lower than MPAC value, and MPAC lowered it to those comps. And then since then Toronto real estate market got crazy even for condos and condos started selling for more than what MPAC decreased my value to. It is all about timing the market value. The property value = what someone is willing to pay for it at a particular point in time. And that keeps changing. We want it low for MPAC and high when we are selling.
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