B.C. developer wins $2.9-million reduction in assessment after filing appeal

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      A company called Paydirt Enterprises truly hit paydirt with an appeal of its assessment.

      In a recent decision, Property Assessment Appeal Board panel chair Bruce Maitland ruled that the assessor overshot the mark by $2.9 million on 42 lots in a subdivision in eastern Abbotsford.

      The assessor in B.C. Assessment's Fraser Valley office did not consider development cost charges to be "hard costs for site preparation" in the 2018 assessment. 

      In addition, the assessor concluded that legal, survey, project-management, and financing costs should not be included.

      The assessor also argued that the developer's profit forecast should be excluded from the calculations.

      Maitland, the former director of real estate services for the City of Vancouver, disagreed on all counts.

      In his ruling, Maitland also accepted all of Paydirt's estimates, including a 15 percent developer's profit. That accounted for $1.15 million of the total reduction in assessed value.

      According to Maitland, "this is reasonable based on the risk".

      Moreover, Maitland ruled that Paydirt could deduct future sales commissions from its assessed value—something that the assessor argued against.

      Paydirt is owned by Murray Blackham, Donna Blackham, Cheryl Ann Hannah, and Tracey Rae Blackham, according to documents on the City of Abbotsford website.

      A lower assessment leads to lower property taxes, which are charged based on the value of a property.