City Council approved a new tax subclass for derelict residential properties in mature areas today. Edmonton is the first city in Canada to make a subclass specifically for derelict properties, as part of a larger effort to combat problem properties and encourage community vibrancy.
Starting in 2024, the new derelict tax subclass can be applied to residential properties in mature neighbourhoods that show serious signs of neglect, are dilapidated, are falling into significant disrepair or are unlivable. The subclass will allow the City to charge a higher tax rate to properties in these neighbourhoods assessed as derelict.
In a letter this fall, the City will notify an estimated 300 affected owners about the potential of their property being assessed as derelict. All property assessments will be confirmed in January 2024 when assessment notices are mailed to over 400,000 Edmonton property owners.
“The derelict tax subclass is a new tool in the City’s toolbox for addressing the harmful impact that derelict and problem residential properties can have,” said Cate Watt, Branch Manager, Assessment and Taxation. “Managing derelict properties often comes with additional costs to the City and a higher tax rate will help to cover those costs while encouraging property owners to clean up derelict houses. We hope this will improve the vibrancy of mature neighbourhoods in the long run.”
In an independent case study from 2017-2020, a sample of 31 problem properties created an estimated $1.3 million in City costs for bylaw inspections and enforcement, fire inspections and suppression, safety codes and development compliance inspections, and police inspections and responses. Several of these properties were also derelict and contributed significantly to those costs.
Derelict and problem residential properties are defined differently. For a property to be considered derelict for tax purposes, the City must assess the physical condition of the home on the property, looking for buildings that are deserted, boarded up, deemed unfit for habitation, or abandoned partway through the process of construction or demolition. City property assessors cannot base their assessment on any potential social or safety issues connected to a property, such as being a fire or public health risk, or being a location of repeated criminal activity. Problem properties are defined by those issues. This means that not all problem properties will be considered derelict and vice versa.
The City’s Problem Property Initiative, which coordinates the efforts of multiple City departments, the Edmonton Police Service, Alberta Health Services and the Government of Alberta, will continue to lead the effort to address problem properties as a whole.
Edmontonians who are concerned about problem properties can notify the City by calling 311 or using the confidential online Report a Problem Property form. Minor nuisance complaints about concerns like long grass, graffiti or furniture left on front lawns, can also be directed to 311.