After South Langley resident Else Stockman saw the assessed value of her 2.39 acre property jump by more than 20 per cent to more than $2 million, she filed an appeal.
One thing that she found hard to understand was how the assessment authority could set a lower value for a next-door neighbour, whose lot size and house were virtually identical to hers.
In fact, the neighbour was assessed at $1,290,000, about $800,000 less than Stockman, who said there is no real difference between that property and the others located in her neighbourhood, near 200 Street and 18th Avenue.
“We’re three properties, side-by-side, all by the lake, same size, I’m in the middle,” she said.
After Stockman succeeded in getting her assessment trimmed to $1,436,000 earlier this year, she recently learned her neighbour has also received a reduction, to $1,129,000, about $300,000 less.
“He told me,” a surprised Stockman related.
“It’s just ridiculous. Do [they] just sit in an office and throw darts?”
In a letter provided to the Langley Advance Times by Stockman, Michelle Chen, Appraiser for the Fraser Valley Region, said she does not agree with the decision by the Property Assessment Review Panel (PARP) to set a lower assessment for the neighbour, but by law, has to honour the ruling.
“However, this decision will not be carried forward to the 2021 Assessment,” the Chen letter stated.
“I have made changes to [the neighbour’s] property to make sure that this property is assessed equitably with their proximate neighbouring properties. This change will reflect on their 2021 Assessment Notice.”
Chen also said Stockman’s assessment was “currently valued equitably” with another neighbour.
When Stockman went public with her dispute over variation in assessed values, Brian Smith, deputy assessor in charge of residential properties in the Lower Mainland, said there are different possible explanations for why, sometimes, similar properties are assessed differently.
“One possibility is an error,” Smith told the Langley Advance Times.
“If something doesn’t look right, we encourage people to contact us.”
READ MORE: Langley home values dropping: BC Assessments
Langley Township saw an average decrease of five per cent for single family homes, with values dropping from $971,000 to $922,000. Langley City saw a decrease of six per cent from $862,000 to $809,000 for the average house.
Condos and townhouses dropped in value at similar rates. In the Township, assessed values dropped from $561,000 to $531,000, a five per cent decrease. In Langley City, strata homes were down from $396,000 to $369,000, a seven per cent decrease.
While homes in rural Langley remained valued at a high level, they were down from last year.
A one-acre property near D.W. Poppy with a recently built two-storey house was valued this year at $2.1 million, down from $2.3 million in last year’s assessment.
Municipal governments adjust their residential tax rate with the aim of raising the same amount of revenue as in the previous year.
If a property increases less than average – or decreases by more than the average – a slight tax decrease is likely.
If value is increasing faster than average – or going up while the average home declines in value – taxes are likely to go up.
People can look up their own home, or any other address, and find out its assessed value through BC Assessment’s online portal at www.bcassessment.ca.
People who disagree with the assessed value of their home can appeal it with BC Assessment.
– with files from Matthew Claxton