Procedures for Residential Data Collection through the Property Inspection Process

Goal

To provide residential property owners with the property inspection process in Ontario. 

Background

Section 19(1) of theAssessment Act directs the Municipal Property Assessment Corporation (MPAC) to assess land based on its current value.

Section 10 of the Assessment Act provides MPAC with the right of access to all land and buildings for the purpose of making a proper assessment, provided that:

  • the MPAC property inspector produces proper identification;
  • the inspection is conducted at a reasonable time; and
  • the inspection or request for information is for the purpose of determining the assessment of the property.

Sections 10 and 11 of the Assessment Act requires a property owner to provide MPAC with all requested information relating to the assessment of that property, either at the time of the inspection, or by responding to a letter. This information is required to be returned within a reasonable time.

Accurate data is necessary to produce accurate current value assessments. This data is updated regularly using a variety of sources, including:

  • land title documents registered at Ontario Land Registry Offices;
  • building permits issued by local municipalities;
  • discussions and correspondence with property owners;
  • on-site property inspections; and
  • questionnaires.

The Process

If someone over the age of 18 is home, the MPAC property inspector shows an MPAC-issued identification card, and explains the purpose of the visit.  All information collected from a property inspection or verification is updated on MPAC’s database. The inspector may also take photographs of the property for their records.

Inspection

MPAC will usually complete a physical inspection when:

  • a building permit is issued by a municipality;
  • a residential property is sold (this activity is referred to as a Sales Investigation);
  • an inspection of homes for assessment update;
  • a property owner submits a Request for Reconsideration; or
  • a property owner files an appeal with the Assessment Review Board.

The inspection process ensures that all interior and exterior data is correct.

Verification

In this circumstance, the MPAC property inspector will decide the appropriate course of action to ensure the interior data is correct and accurate.

Verification may involve:

  • No action required if the property record appears up to date in the opinion of the property inspector.
  • Leave a call back notice at the home for the property owner to contact MPAC.
  • Contact the property owner by phone to verify information about their home.
  • Mail or deliver a Sales Questionnaire to the property owner.
  • Mail or deliver a Residential Property Information forms (RPI) the property owner 
  • Review blueprints and building plans.

Review any correspondence from the municipality.

Building Permits for New Residences

The MPAC property inspector will inspect or verify with the owner the interior of the home, measure the exterior, and record the physical characteristics of the residence, and other permanent structures.

Upon entering the home, the MPAC property inspector will usually:

  • start in the basement measuring the height and any finished areas, noting the heating type;
  • proceed to the first floor noting the quality of finishes, number of fireplaces, number of washrooms, and any special features that may exist;
  • continue to the upper floor(s), noting the quality of finishes, presence of walk-in closets, en-suite baths, etc. If the upper floor is less than a full storey, some interior measurements may be required;
  • make note of unfinished area of a home that is being built.  The assessed value may be reduced to reflect its unfinished status.  MPAC may contact the owner/occupant later to verify when the home is completely finished;
  • inspect and measure all secondary structures such as garages and sheds; and
  • record all site characteristics including location and site features such as proximity to highway and topography of the lot.

If the owner is not available, the MPAC property inspector will estimate the interior characteristics of the structure based on information that can be determined from the exterior.
If an interior inspection is required, the MPAC property inspector will leave a call back notice and/or business card.
If the owner/occupant does not call back, the estimated information will be used to complete the assessment.
If the owner/occupant refuses to allow the MPAC property inspector into their home, MPAC will estimate the interior details and complete the assessment.

Building Permits for Renovation/Addition

If the owner/occupant is available, the MPAC property inspector will:

  • inspect the interior of the renovation or addition, recording the physical details;
  • measure the addition from the exterior;
  • confirm the interior and exterior data for the rest of the home; and
  • confirm the accuracy of the data of all secondary structures, and all site characteristics, including location and site features.

If the owner/occupant is not available, the MPAC property inspector will:

  • estimate the interior characteristics of the renovation or addition based on information that can be determined from the exterior; and
  • if an internal inspection is required, a call back notice and/or business card will be left.

Sales Investigation

If the owner/occupant is available, the MPAC property inspector will:

  • inspect the interior and exterior of the property, and record and/or verify the physical details of the property; and
  • confirm and record any changes to the property that occurred prior to or after the sale. The inspector discusses the sale with the owner/occupant to determine whether the sale was an open market  transaction.

If the owner/occupant is not available, the MPAC property inspector will:

  • inspect and measure the exterior of the property, and record and/or verify the physical details of the property;
  • estimate the interior characteristics of the property based on information that can be determined from the exterior; and
  • if an internal inspection or specific sales information is required, a call back notice and/or business card will be left.

Neighbourhood Inspection Program

MPAC will sometimes inspect all homes in a neighbourhood.  Typically, this would occur when:

  • there have been many sales, and the sale prices are higher or lower than the existing assessments;
  • no inspections have taken place in that neighbourhood for many years;
  • there have been a high number of Requests for Reconsideration or appeals to the Assessment Review Board in the neighbourhood; or
  • the area is undergoing a transition.

The process followed is very similar to that for building permits for renovations/additions.

Request for Reconsideration or Assessment Review Board Appeals

The MPAC Property Valuation Analyst will:

  • contact the property owner/representative to arrange an appointment ( if required) to discuss their concerns about their assessment;
  • inspect the interior and exterior of the property (if required), and record and/or verify the physical details of the property; and
  • inform the property owner/representative of the results of the visit.

Related Information

Section 19(1) of the Assessment Act
Section 10 of the Assessment Act
Section 11 of the Assessment Act
Assessment Review Board Procedures
Property Information – Key features
Requests for Reconsideration Procedures

Note: This procedure has been developed to provide the public with a general understanding of Residential Data Collection.  The applicable law prevails to the extent there is any conflict between the procedure and the relevant law.

Information on this page may not be fully accessible. Please contact us at 1 866 296-6722 or 1 877 889-6722 TTY to determine how we can best accommodate you.

Note: The applicable law prevails to the extent there is any conflict between this information and the current law. This information is not intended to provide legal advice and should not be relied upon as such.