Lori Finnigan

Lori Finnigan says her Saint John home is worthless because of slope failure. She wants her tax bill cut. (CBC)

A Saint John woman is challenging her tax bill, arguing her property is worthless because the steep bank underneath part of her home has become unstable.

Lori Finnigan took her case to the New Brunswick Assessment and Planning Appeal Board on Tuesday. The assessed value of the Manawagonish Road house is just $35,000 — but that's still too high, Finnigan says.

Problems began, she said, when the house next door suffered "slope failure." A contractor poured 800 truck loads of fill to try to fix the issue.

But Finnigan said all that fill destabilized the ground under her house. Twenty metres of sewer pipe sheared off, cracks formed, and water poured in.

Now the front window of her home has "Warning Slope Failure" spray-painted on it.

"It was very obvious that the house is full of mould, that the cracks are big enough that you can put your hand through them, that the house is definitely failing," she said.

Finnigan and her husband paid $310,000 for the house in 2009. It has a panoramic view of the Bay of Fundy and two rental suites, now unoccupied

At the appeal board hearing, New Brunswick property assessment services manager Michael O'Kane said the house has no value. The assessed value of the property is based on sales of vacant lots in the area.

But Finnigan says there is no comparison because a buyer would have to spend a lot of money just to tear down the building and stabilize the land.

A decision on her case is due in about six weeks.

Saint John Coun. Bill Farren represents Finnigan’s ward and says the city legal department has told him there’s nothing they can do.

But he said the area has been flagged, and there will be no more development allowed there.