Langley Township had to write off $23,031 in property taxes after the owners of three mobile homes after the owners vanished and the homes were either demolished or moved.
The difficulty in this case was that the land doesn’t belong to the Township, or to a private homeowner, Township administrator Mark Bakken explained. It belongs to either the provincial or federal government in all three cases.
He described it as an anomaly – the Township can’t legally collect property taxes on federal or provincial land, so it tries to tax the value of mobile or manufactured homes when they are on such lands.
In these cases, the owners didn’t pay.
“We have no enforcement mechanism, we cannot put them up for tax sale,” Bakken said.
Other methods of attempting to collect tax payment also failed, according to a staff report.
In one case, the resident simply left after a number of years, and the home that was left was in such poor shape it was simply demolished.
The land that owed the most in property taxes, more than $21,000 to the Township and more than $8,000 to Metro Vancouver and other authorities, is listed by BC Assessment as a vacant piece of land adjacent to the 232nd Street highway interchange.
Councillor Kim Richter asked if this was a trend in the Township, but Bakken said it wasn’t increasing, and there are only a few properties like this in each community.
“It’s a relatively small number of issues that exist per municipality.”
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