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Tenants' letter to the editorThe Ottawa Citizen, May 1, 2002
Re: City treasurer not sure how much to adjust tax on rental properties, April 17.
We are all seniors who live in an apartment building. We were outraged to learn that tenants in
apartments pay twice as much property tax as homeowners, and we do not want to continue to
pay more than our fair share.
We recently attended the City's Corporate Services and Economic Development Committee. At that meeting, everyone agreed that tenants are paying more in taxes than homeowners (at least 25% and
maybe 50% more). It turns out that apartment buildings pay municipal taxes at twice the rate of houses. The City Councillors all agreed that this was unfair. They also admitted that the unfairness has been
going on for many years. Instead of trying to fix the unfairness as soon as possible, City Councillors recommended waiting until next year to think about when and how to start solving the problem. Meanwhile, each of us continues to pay hundreds and hundreds of dollars too much in tax.
Some City Councillors did not want to reduce our taxes because they were worried that landlords would not reduce the rents when the taxes are reduced. However, landlords are required to do so under the law. Also, when taxes are reduced, the City is required to send notices to all tenants telling them their rents are automatically reduced.
In a warped sense of logic, some City Councillors are reluctant to lower taxes (and therefore reduce rents) because rents have risen in the City. Part of the reason why rents are so high, is because apartment taxes are so high.
Our rent goes up once a year by the guideline. That is no reason to take away the rent reduction we could have for a decrease in taxes.
City Councillors say that they don't want to lower our taxes, because they are worried that not all the tax savings would go to tenants. They are worried that some of the savings would go to landlords. So instead of lowering the taxes so, at the very least, some of us would see the tax savings, they keep making us pay more than our fair share (and so, none of us see tax savings).
We are living on fixed incomes. We can barely afford to pay the rents. We certainly cannot afford to keep paying the unfair taxes that the City is charging us. Certain City Councillors should be ashamed of themselves.
J. Ready, G. Simons, K. Carberry and D. Page, Ottawa
© Copyright 2002 The Ottawa Citizen