Secondary suite tax penalizes law-abiding
Editor: We could not agree more with Duncan Harper and other citizens who are opposing the Township’s intent to tax secondary suites.
We too took out a permit several years ago to live together with our extended family, in an official secondary suite developed in our home. At the time, we thought that was the right thing to do.
We own and are on title for 40 per cent, or 1,400 square feet of the house. But we are only allowed to use 968 square feet, which is the official allowance for secondary suites, no matter if they are rented out or occupied by family members.
We are not allowed to use the full space that we own. Now we may be penalized with a tax of $580, while owners of unauthorized suites do not pay taxes on their suites. This adds insult to injury for law-abiding citizens like us.
If the Township is serious about taxing secondary suites, it should adopt the City of Langley’s approach. The City gave owners of illegal secondary suites a couple of years to register and bring their suites up to the legal standard.
If it was found later that they had an illegal suite, the owner would face heavy fines.
The Township actually has a bylaw which requires that all secondary suites be registered and legalized. Yet by the Township’s own estimates, there are about 10,000 to 12,000 illegal suites.
So far, it appears the Township will not be going after illegal suite owners. They can send staff from house to house to find out if they have an unregistered dog, to collect a paltry $24 per year, but can’t or won’t do anything about illegal suites, where the Townbship could collect up to $580 per year.
We feel like we are being penalized for being law-abiding citizens.
We ask that you withhold our names, as we live on a cul-de-sac with many homes containing illegal suites. We do not want to create a bad neighbourly environment.
Names withheld by request