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FINANCE - Taxation - Real or immovable property assessment - Classes

Wednesday, April 07, 2021 @ 6:21 AM  

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Appeal by stated case by the Assessor of Area #04 - Central Vancouver Island, from a decision of the Property Assessment Appeal Board (Board). Owners of 36 strata properties in a strata development used their units to store personal items. Each storage unit was equipped with its own cable, telephone and security connection, a ventilation system, work sink and counter and an insulated garage door with a metal person door. Each unit also contained a two-piece bathroom. In 2018, the storage units were classified as Class 1 – residential. The Assessor changed the classification to Class 6 – business and other for the 2019 assessment roll. The Board found the type and nature of the items stored and the activities undertaken in relation to them were of the nature of residential use. It found the storage units were used to replicate the experience of a home garage. It concluded the strata units were properly classified as Class 1 – residential.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. The standard of review was correctness. Use of the property was the governing factor, not its location. There was no language in s. 1(1)(a) of the Prescribed Classes of Property Regulation that required physical proximity of the storage units, as the secondary property, to the owners’ primary residence, for an integrated whole to exist. The Board correctly found that integration between an ancillary improvement and primary residence required the use of the ancillary property to support the use of the primary property. There was nothing in the Regulation that required activities undertaken by the owners at the storage units to be the same as those undertaken at their primary residences. The storage units were analogous to garages, basements, workshops, hobby rooms, sheds, driveways and the like. Together with their principal residences, the storage units comprised for their owners an integrated residential whole. The Board correctly determined the storage units were Class 1 – residential.

British Columbia (Assessor of Area 04 - Central Vancouver Island) v. Russell, [2021] B.C.J. No. 351, British Columbia Supreme Court, Baird J., February 25, 2021. Digest No. TLD-April52021004