N.Y. Eyes Extending Assessment Deadline For Storm Damaged Homes

May 31, 2005

New York Superintendent of Insurance Howard Mills has urged the state legislature to extend the deadline to give Broome County homeowners whose properties were damaged in last month’s floods more time to file for reassessments.

The measure before lawmakers would amend the Flood Assessment Relief Act and authorize municipalities to offer additional property tax relief benefits to affected homeowners. If passed, the amendment would also give homeowners in 21 storm-damaged counties up to three years to apply for and take advantage of the new benefit, according to Mills.

Broome and 13 other counties—Chenango, Cortland, Delaware, Greene, Montgomery, Orange, Otsego, Rensselaer, Schenectady, Schoharie, Sullivan, Tioga and Ulster—are currently eligible to offer property tax relief to flood-damaged properties. The amendment, proposed by Gov. George Pataki, would add Cayuga, Chautauqua, Columbia, Madison, Niagara, Putnam and Westchester counties to that list and give all 21 counties until July 1, 2005 to decide whether they want to opt-in.

Thousands of homes were damaged during the flooding caused by April rain storms that hit much of the Southern Tier and Hudson Valley regions. “The Flood Assessment Relief Act of 2005” provides counties that suffered the most damage with the option of authorizing their municipalities to offer property tax relief to homeowners whose homes were either lost or experienced serious damage.

To allow eligible homeowners additional time to seek property tax relief, the amendment would allow homeowners up to three years to ask their local board of assessors for an adjustment in their assessments. The assessment of the home would be based on the condition of the property after the flood. In counties that opt-in, assessors would also be authorized to request that the assessments of seriously damaged homes be reduced.

Property assessments in most upstate counties are based upon the condition of a property as of the March 1st taxable status date. Therefore, if a home was destroyed or substantially impacted by the April floods, the owner’s September 2005 school taxes and January 2006 property taxes would be based on the March 1st condition of the property.

To request a reduction in their assessment due to flood damage, taxpayers will need to submit the RP-524 “Complaint on Real Property Assessment” application to their local Board of Assessment Review (BAR).

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