Bernie's story

By on 04/12/2019

I have lived in Point Grey for 20 years. My assessment is over $5 million on a 1927 house. The school tax surcharge will cost me $6,000 this year, in addition to my $17,000 tax bill from the City.

I have a mortgage and am on a single income, so I cannot refinance.

I have a tenant who is a pensioner, just diagnosed with cancer. She is also a good friend. She cannot afford any rent increase.

When I went to the town meetings, Mr Eby told me to my appeal my assessment, and I did. I appealed my house value of $450,000, as my neighbours is $200,000 less than mine. Both houses are the same and technically tear downs. When the assessment authority contacted me with their calculations, they averaged sales on nearby streets, as there were no sales on my street. No way to win that one. The assessor’s response was that we should review my neighbours assessment. Threw them under the bus.

Then I questioned why I was assessed on a garage I hadn’t had in 3 years. She said they would reduce the value of the garage next year.

So, my options are:

- defer taxes on an unrealized asset and pass on debt to kids

- evict my tenant and move into the basement, and rent the main house for at least $4,000 a month to cover taxes, mortgage and maintenance

- sell in a market that is not conducive to old, over-assessed homes and large taxes.

FYI: I did try and sell my house just before new government was elected, as I saw what was happening. I did not even get an offer. I never expected the surtax would be coming, that was a slap in the face from Mr Eby. (By the way I didn’t vote for him.)

I want to retire from the City of Vancouver after 33 years, but I can’t. My parents live in Vancouver, and they are both over 90 so if I do sell at “whatever” the true value is, I will have to find something under $3 million and take my tenant with me, as can’t leave Vancouver. There is no one else to care for them.

Trapped.

The idea of creating new housing on the backs of taxpayers is ridiculous and if it keeps going this way there will be no trades people left to build. They can’t afford to live in the Lower Mainland either.

The idea of creating new housing using a “wealth” tax on the backs of taxpayers using unrealized assets is ridiculous and unjust.

Bernie Burnett, Vancouver

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