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Commentary on Orlando Corp. v. Zellers Inc.

September-18-2003

Area Property Assessment and Taxation

Summary

In Orlando Corp. v. Zellers Inc., Zellers Inc. (the “Tenant”) was a tenant pursuant to a lease signed in 1975 (the “Lease”) with Orlando Realty Corporation Limited (the “Landlord”). The Lease provided, among other things, that the Tenant pay the taxes levied in respect of and referable solely to the Tenant’s building and, in the event that the entire shopping centre was assessed “en bloc” or the Tenant’s building was not assessed and taxed as a separate and independent lot, the Tenant was to pay based upon a proportionate share methodology. 

Prior to 1998, the Tenant had been charged on the basis of the separate assessments issued for the Tenant as set out in the Landlord’s notice of assessment.  In 1998, separate tenant assessments were no longer issued or set out on the Landlord’s notice of assessment.  At issue in this application was whether the apportionment of value in the assessor’s records constituted separate assessments.

The Court of Appeal, which agreed with the judge hearing the application, concluded that separate assessments no longer existed and that the tenant apportionments found in the assessor’s records did not constitute separate assessments. 

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