Property Assessment Appeals Procedure Improved

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations (to March 31, 2014)

May 2, 2012 2:47 PM

The province is proposing Nova Scotia property owners have access to sales information and an improved property assessment system with amendments to the Municipal Government Act and the Assessment Act.

Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations Minister John MacDonell introduced the amendments today, May 2.

"These changes will bring more clarity, improved efficiency and greater transparency to the appeal process and to real estate transactions," said Mr. MacDonell.

An amendment to the Municipal Government Act would allow publishing real estate sales prices and related information from deed transfer tax affidavits. It is now available only on a limited basis.

"Nova Scotia is the only province in Canada that does not allow government to publish property sales prices," said Mr. MacDonell. "This amendment will change that and make property transactions and assessment appeals much more transparent."

The Assessment Act amendments would extend the time ratepayers have to appeal property assessments. Currently, property owners have 21 days to appeal after assessment notices are mailed. The amendment would extend that to 31 days.

The time allowed to file appeals of amended or confirmed assessments would also increase, from seven days to 14.

The legislation will also change the name of the Regional Assessment Appeal Court to the Nova Scotia Assessment Appeal Tribunal and clarify its authority.

"This appeal body is, in fact, an administrative tribunal and not a court," said Mr. MacDonell. "The word tribunal makes it clear that the appeal process is much less formal and more user-friendly than a court proceeding."

The tribunal will be able to require disclosure from appellants or assessors when hearing appeals. Appellants would also be given 14 days notice of a hearing rather than six given for the Regional Assessment Appeal Court.

"The Nova Scotia Real Estate Appraisers Association strongly supports public disclosure of property selling prices and believes that giving all Nova Scotians free and open access to this information will reduce fraud, increase the efficiency of real estate markets, and improve the fairness, understanding and transparency of our property assessment system," said André Pouliot, president Nova Scotia Real Estate Appraisers Association.

The changes are expected to be implemented in time for the assessments in 2013.


FOR BROADCAST USE:

     The province is proposing Nova Scotia property owners have

access to sales information and an improved property assessment

system with amendments to the Municipal Government Act and the

Assessment Act today (May 2nd).

     A proposed change in the Municipal Government Act would

allow property sales prices to be published.

     Ratepayers would have 31 days, instead of 21, to file

appeals after assessment notices are mailed.

     The Regional Assessment Appeal Court would become the Nova

Scotia Assessment Appeal Tribunal, and have authority to request

disclosure of information from appellants and assessors.

The changes are expected to be implemented in time for the

assessments in 2013.

-30-

Media Contact: Susan Mader Zinck
              Service Nova Scotia and Municipal Relations
              902-722-1461
              E-mail: madersd@gov.ns.ca