People whose homes were damaged by Hurricane Sandy can contact City Hall to challenge their property tax assessments, Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg said on Monday.
Responding to complaints by some homeowners that their tentative tax assessments had gone up, even though their homes were damaged in the storm, Mr. Bloomberg said the city would send someone to inspect damaged homes before it published its final property assessment rolls in May.
In January, when the city published its tentative property assessment roll for the 2014 fiscal year, it noted that it would inspect all storm-damaged properties that had been given a red tag by the Department of Buildings, signifying that they had been demolished, needed to be demolished or required major structural repairs before they would be habitable.
Owners of homes that were less seriously damaged have until this Friday to file damage reports to the Department of Finance, and their homes will also be inspected, according to Lauren Passalacqua, a spokeswoman for the mayor’s office.
All property owners, regardless of storm damage, have until March 15 to file formal appeals of their assessments.
The mayor, speaking at a news conference at City Hall on food policy, noted that some New Yorkers whose homes lost value because of storm damage may still see their tax bills increase next year, as a result of the way assessed values are calculated. State law caps increases in a property’s assessed value – the amount to which property tax rates are applied – to 6 percent in one year and 20 percent in five years.
If market value increases faster than that, the assessed value lags behind the market value. The Finance Department said in January that it had identified 69 properties that were red-tagged by the Department of Buildings that nevertheless had their assessments increased. On average, the city reduced the market values of these homes by 26.4 percent, but increased their assessed values by 4.3 percent.
“The good part is you didn’t have to pay extra taxes then; now you have to pay them later on,” Mr. Bloomberg said.
Still, he encouraged homeowners who questioned their assessments to contact the city.
“There’s 3,500 houses that have already contacted us,” he said. “The final tax bill can be very different.”