Property assessments are in the mail, MPAC says
People in Sudbury and North Bay will find out in a few days how much their properties are worth — compared to four years ago.
The Municipal Property Assessment Corporation is sending out the latest round of assessments.
MPAC's media specialist Darlene Rich said there are some additions to MPAC's website this year, including a way for homeowners to look up the value of 24 homes in their neighborhood to compare to their own.
"You'll be able to look up market trends in your municipality, as well as the rest of the province, as the numbers are released," Rich said.
"[It] gives you an insight into the increases, the decreases, [and] the shift in the market trends in your area."
The change is a response to feedback that the agency needs to be more transparent, she said. The Ombudsman investigated MPAC in 2006 after receiving 3,700 complaints about assessments.
"We've listened to property owners and they've asked for changes," she continued.
"We've been working with them doing research — and some of these changes are the results of requests from property owners."
Property owners can dispute assessments
While some properties in the Sudbury and North Bay region have increased in value, others have dropped, so the trend is neutral, Rich said.
The property assessments are sent out every four years. This year, the notices will be sent out in a staggered fashion, instead of all at once.
"Property owners will have 120 days from when they receive their notice, to, first off, look at their notice, and ask themselves when they look at it, could they have sold their property for that assessed value on Jan. 1, 2016, which is the valuation date," she said.
"If the answer is yes, then their assessment is accurate. If not, then we are committed to working with them to get it right, and we encourage them to go to our website, aboutmyproperty.ca or call us and we'll gladly answer any questions. In those 120 days, if they call us and we have that opportunity to any adjustments before municipalities are given the final data."
Rich says municipalities use the information to get an idea of their tax bases. She said people often wonder if their assessments go up, if their taxes will also go up.
She said determining the answer can be complicated — but the short answer is "not necessarily." She said a full explanation is on MPAC's website.
with files from Kate Rutherford