New Case Study on Grieving Excessive Assessment
This new Case Study provided by Warren Leisenring Jr. relates his experience representing a property owner to grieve their assessment of $917,700 – which increased $342,700.
We hope this gives property owners some insight as to what to expect and how to prepare their grievances.
This includes actual information presented in the grievance from the Informal Meeting with the assessor, the meeting before the Board of Assessment Review, and the Small Claims Assessment Review (SCAR). No personal information is included.
Case Study #2 Grieving by Excessive Assessment
by Warren Leisenring Jr.
In 2019, I shared the process of grieving an assessment with you on the website in a Case Study that I thought may be beneficial to other property owners. Now I have another grievance that is also worthy of a Case Study.
As it was with Case Study #1 I would like to begin by giving you a background of my history with the property tax assessment system. I am not a lawyer, an assessor, a real estate person, or an appraiser. I am a person who knows and wants to share some of the ways that are helpful to property owners who are overwhelmed by the system when grieving their property tax assessment. I was the first person to argue my assessment in Small Claims (1980) against the town in which I live. I won that grievance. After researching some unethical issues, my understanding of the property tax system grew immensely. Since then, I wrote a book that was published on how to lower your property tax assessment. I have served on the local Board of Assessment Review for the past 10 years and have been appointed for another five-year term. I was approached by Tax My Property Fairly to be a consultant and help write content for this website. I have represented property owners with their property tax grievances in upstate New York from Ontario County to Saratoga County, just west of Albany.
This Case Study relates to my experience in the second time I represented the same property owner in grieving their assessment. The first time was a few years ago. I prepared evidence showing the assessment was Unequally Assessed compared to other similar properties on the same assessment roll and explained the evidence to the assessor in an informal meeting. The assessor’s assessment was for $825,000.00 and I had evidence that it should be $460,000.00. After showing the assessor the evidence I had, the assessor and I agreed to an assessment of $575,000.00. A stipulation agreement was signed at that time and it became the new assessment.
In 2021 the property owner received an "impact statement" saying the new assessment was $917,700.00. This was an increase of $342,700.00. The assessor said this was mainly due to the local Real Estate Market and a revaluation of property assessments in the town. Something certainly was not correct. This was almost a 60% increase in assessment over the taxable value from the previous year. My first instinct was that the reduced assessment made at the informal meeting years prior was not entered into the Mass Appraisal System used by the assessor. The overall increase in assessments was approximately 9.8%. Using the old higher assessment this would have produced an assessment of $906,000.00 and with the high real estate market at the time it would seem correct to have an assessment of $917,700.00. However, using the new lowered assessment should have produced an assessment of $631,350.00. This was still an increase of $56,350.00 over the $575,000.00. The asking reduction in my complaint was for an assessment of $640,000.00.