According to state law, property owners are required to pay property taxes whether or not they receive a bill. While it is a homeowner’s responsibility to ensure that property taxes are paid, there is something unfair about the situation I am about to explain.
There are homeowners whose properties sit on two tax lots, but they are not aware of this. As long as there is a mortgage on the property, the bank pays taxes for both lots: the lot with an actual address, where the house is, and the empty lot, where the driveway or the backyard is.
It is not a problem until you have satisfied your mortgage. At that point, the city Finance Department sends a bill for the lot with the physical address. The other lot without a house or building has no physical address and the homeowner does not receive a bill. This can go on for years until the property goes onto the lien sale list.
On the 30-day lien list for Queens, there are 231 properties without physical addresses. Of these properties, three are within Community Board 8. Our office was able to research and find the property owner’s address and sent notices.
What about the others? Many of these property owners may not know they stand to lose their investment. This problem could be alleviated if the homeowners’ mailing addresses were included in addition to the real estate billing address for the empty lot. The Finance Department could require that the property owners fill out a form acknowledging the purchase of a property on two tax lots and that separate taxes will be billed.
It would be beneficial to the city, which will collect taxes in a timely fashion, and the property owners, who would not have to face a huge bill for years of unpaid taxes.
Community Board 8
©2012 Community News Group
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