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REAL PROPERTY TAX - Assessment - Methods 

Monday, April 19, 2021 @ 9:16 AM  

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Appeal by Baron Real Estate Investments from a judicial review judgment affirming a tax assessment by the Edmonton Composite Assessment Review Board. The appellant challenged a 2015 tax assessment of industrial property on the basis it failed to consider the adverse impact of environmental contamination on the market value of the property. Upon learning of the contamination, the City recommended lowering the assessment. The appellant took the position that the revised assessment was not a sufficient reduction and disagreed with the City’s approach to valuing contaminated lands. The appellant sought consideration of the costs of remediation, whereas the City focused on loss of use of the contaminated portion. The Review Board accepted the City’s recommendation. The appellant sought judicial review. The court found that there was no denial of procedural fairness and that the assessment was not unreasonable. Baron appealed.

HELD: Appeal dismissed. Procedural unfairness did not result from the City’s response to the complaint addressing the assessment of environmentally contaminated land, as it went directly to the issues raised by the appellant. No procedural unfairness arose from the Board’s decision not to allow the appellant an extension of time to review and respond to the City’s disclosure or the Board’s refusal to extend the deadline for further rebuttal evidence given the delay in the appellant’s requests and the volume of rebuttal evidence proffered. The Board provided intelligible, transparent reasons capable of justifying the conclusion that a willing seller and a willing buyer of the appellant’s contaminated property in the open market would agree upon the price recommended by the City. It was reasonable for the Board to assess market value by reference to the income producing capacity of the land, rather than by deducting future remediation costs. The Board’s assessment was not unreasonable.

Baron Real Estate Investments Ltd. v. Edmonton (City), [2021] A.J. No. 236, Alberta Court of Appeal, B.L. Veldhuis, J. Strekaf and R. Khullar JJ.A., February 19, 2021. Digest No. TLD-April192021001