Heritage Property Tax Relief

Heritage Property Tax Rebate Program

We provide ongoing tax relief to certain heritage properties to assist owners in the maintenance of heritage features through the Heritage Property Tax Rebate Program (HPTRP). Under this rebate program, property owners can receive a 40% reduction in property taxes for a residential property and a 20% reduction for a commercial property.

The HPTRP is currently at capacity. This page will be updated once applications are open again.

Historic stone house on Edinburgh Street

Frequently asked questions

 Why do we have the heritage property tax rebate program?

Why was heritage property tax program introduced?

In 2001, the provincial government passed legislation to create ongoing property tax relief for heritage properties. The Province recognized that historic buildings sometimes have higher maintenance and repair costs. The program supports owners who have chosen to protect their buildings through heritage designation. This is the most generous heritage incentive program ever introduced in Ontario and is designed to encourage good stewardship and investment in heritage structures.

Why is the City involved with this program?

The Heritage Property Tax Rebate Program aims to encourage preservation and improvement of our rich landscape of cultural and architectural landmarks. We recognize that well cared for historic buildings form a vital backdrop of making Peterborough a vibrant and inviting place to be.

Who is eligible for the heritage property tax rebate program?

What properties are eligible?

To be eligible to enter the Heritage Property Tax Rebate Program:

  • Designation of the building under Part IV of the Ontario Heritage Act (Properties designated under Part V of the Act, as contributing buildings in a Heritage Conservation District are not eligible).
  • The property must have a heritage conservation easement agreement registered on title in which the owner agrees to maintain the property to a recognized preservation standard.
  • Properties must be located within the central area of the City as defined by ‘Schedule J' of the Official Plan. This area takes in the downtown core of the city from Park Street to the west to the river to the east and from Perry and Crescent Streets to the south to McDonnel Street to the north. In addition, properties along Hunter Street East as far as Armour Road are also eligible.
  • The City has also included designated properties anywhere in Peterborough if designated prior to the passage of this program (pre-2003).
  • Council can include other properties outside of the stated geographic boundaries. These are on a case-by-case basis through a petition to Council.

Why does the program only cover the Schedule J area?

This is the oldest part of Peterborough and has a wealth of historic properties, including the downtown core. A central goal of the program is to assist in the revitalization of this area of the city.

How does the program work?

What is the cost of application to the program?

There is an application fee and a renewal fee, which paid every five years. The fees are:

  • $250 application fee for residential properties
  • $450 application fee for commercial properties
  • $200 renewal fee payable every five years.

Property owners with buildings in the Heritage Property Tax Rebate Program will receive a renewal form by email.

When is the application deadline?

Applications are due by February 28 of each year for a rebate for the previous tax year. Your property needs to be designated for the year before you receive your first rebate.

How much is the rebate worth?

We will provide a 40% tax rebate for eligible residential properties and a 20% rebate for eligible commercial properties.

How is the rebate assessed?

The tax rebate applied to the eligible heritage building or structure and the lands associated with it. With most designated properties in the city, the entire property is included in the legal description so the tax rebate will be calculated against the entire property tax bill. For example, a residential tax bill of $2,200 would receive a rebate of approximately $880 or 40% of the total assessment. The rebate will show up as a deduction on the final tax bill.

What is a heritage conservation easement?

A heritage conservation easement is an agreement between the City and a property owner that is registered on the title of the property. It says that in exchange for the tax rebate offered under the program, a property owner will agree to maintain the property to recognized preservation standards for historic buildings.

Sometimes, if the property is of provincial or national significance, the Ontario Heritage Trust will hold the easement instead of the City.

Why is there a requirement for an easement or maintenance agreement?

Designation under the Ontario Heritage Act does not require an owner to do basic maintenance. The City cannot responsibly provide financial incentives without the commitment from a property owner to care for the property.

Can properties entered into the program be modernized?

If modernization means the installation of new vinyl windows in place of original wooden ones, or aluminum siding over wooden clapboard, then the answer is no. The reason for the tax incentive program is to recognize that heritage properties need special maintenance, which can be more costly than that on other properties.

At the same time, we recognize that people do not necessarily want to live in museums and we are eager to work with owners to help make heritage properties efficient, livable modern spaces. Similarly, designation does not usually extend to the interior of a building, unless there are very special features worth preserving.

Heritage designation is a planning tool to help manage change, not to prevent it.

What are the obligations of property owners who enter the program?

Property owners are expected to maintain the heritage attributes of their property as identified in the heritage designation bylaw and guided through the easement and maintenance agreement signed upon entry in to the program.

Owners need to observe the requirements of heritage designation, such as the submission of alteration application to city staff and Peterborough Architectural Conservation Advisory Committee for work, which may affect the heritage attributes of the property.

How is program monitored and enforced?

When a property enters into the program, an initial report will be prepared which outlines the heritage features of a property and their present condition. A member of City staff will inspect the property and photo-document all heritage attributes. This report will serve as a benchmark for comparison during follow-up inspections. Staff will also develop a maintenance plan to share with the property owner which outlines the attributes of the property which should be maintained.

Properties participating in the program are inspected annually to ensure that heritage elements are being maintained. A member of City staff will visit the property to monitor what heritage features may need maintenance or repair. An updated maintenance plan indicating areas of the property which require maintenance will be prepared and shared with the property owner.

What happens if a property owner does not fulfil their obligations under the program?

If a participating owner fails to maintain their heritage property in accordance with the terms, conditions, and intent of the Heritage Property Tax Rebate program and resulting easement agreement, the property owner may be required to refund the City for the full amount of the rebate provided to the owner with interest during any period of non-compliance.

Who receives the rebate where tenants are responsible for maintenance?

The program is directed at property owners since they pay the property tax to the City. Landlords certainly have the option of passing the tax rebates along to their tenants and may choose to do at their discretion.

Does a property have to be restored or just maintained?

The heritage elements noted in the designation by-law determine what is covered by the easement. It is expected that a property owner will maintain these elements of the property. Owners are not required to restore their property to a historic appearance or condition under this program. However, the City is happy to help owners who wish to restore properties with their tax savings to do so.

How much does the program cost taxpayers and where does the money come from to provide the rebates?

The municipal portion of the rebates will be covered by the City from the general tax levy. The education tax portion will be covered by the Province of Ontario. The rebates have already been budgeted and, therefore, the program will not result in a tax increase.

How long does the program last?

The program will provide on-going relief, so long as the property owner complies with their obligations under the terms and conditions of the program.

Are there any other grants or financial incentives?

The tax relief program is the City's primary financial incentive for heritage property owners. However, other grants or financial incentives sometimes become available, either municipally or provincially.