Written by George Maragos Friday, 12 April 2013 00:00
Home prices fluctuate annually throughout Nassau County due to market conditions. In some cases, the price fluctuations may be uneven within the same area or amongst individual homes. The annual property re-assessment process, from the creation of the tentative roll to the end of the grievance process, is intended to deliver a final roll, which is as fair as possible, and free of errors. The grievance part of the process is intended to give homeowners the opportunity to point out and correct any errors in their individual assessment.
Under recent changes, the 2012/2013 roll will be frozen for the next three years. However, homeowners can continue to file annual grievances if they are able to establish errors in assessment or establish other facts demonstrating that the assessment is incorrect, such as a change in the condition of the home, or other newly discovered facts that indicate an incorrect assessment. This freezing of the roll, together with other enhancements, such as incorporating prior homeowner settlements and resolving most grievances prior to the final roll, will progressively improve assessment fairness and will eliminate the need for the county to refund taxes paid by correcting assessments before the roll is final.
Last year approximately 102,355 homeowners (28%) appealed their property assessments. Approximately 85% of these filers received an aggregate assessment value reduction of 13%. Most of these homeowners appealed because they either had received an increase in assessment or had no change in their assessment value from their prior year during a declining real estate market. According to the Department of Assessment, the “overwhelming” majority of the grievance petitions filed for the 2012/13 tentative roll were presented and evaluated based on “comparables” (when a homeowner compares his/her property to that of a neighbor).
Homeowners can appeal personally or they can retain a representative. In 2012, individuals who self-filed received reduction settlements in 92.1% of the instances, while those that used professional representatives received reduction settlements in 84.6% of instances. Both groups were also comparable in terms of a weighted average reduction with about 9.5% for self-filers and 11.1% for those represented. Consequently, there is no significant difference in success rate between a homeowner who files a grievance personally and one who uses a professional representative.
Given the above results, the Comptroller recommends that homeowners who have NOT filed a grievance during the last two years should file to allow the County to take a second look in order to ensure that their homes are valued the same as those that have already filed their grievances. The best method to appeal is on the basis of comparing your assessment to your neighbors and on the condition of your home.
To self-file a grievance simply go to https://www.nassaucountyny.gov/wps51/portal/AROW by the dateline of May 1,2013.
Connect with Nassau County Comptroller Maragos Online: http://www.nassaucountyny.gov/agencies/Comptroller/index.html.