In Ohio, Multifamily Apartment Owners Should Be Especially Vigilant!
If you filed a 2016 tax year valuation complaint before March 31, 2017 and your complaint has not been heard, you might want to call your County Board of Revision and inquire when your case might be heard. Scheduling your hearing will take the County longer if you requested a decrease in your real estate's fair market value of more than $50,000. If you sought a larger increase, Ohio law requires the County to notify the effected School Board. Once the School Board receives notice of the complaint, the School Board then has the right to file a counter complaint.
Verify that the Assessor Has the Correct Contact Information
Now is a great time to make sure the County Auditor & Treasurer’s office has your contact information. Too many times, our office has had to get involved in a case after a property owner has already lost at the county level. The Property Owner comes to us saying they weren’t aware of any complaint and were not notified of any hearing. To make sure you receive any notice of a hearing, make sure the County Auditor or Fiscal Office has the correct address. For instance, in Cuyahoga County, Property Owners can submit a written request on the County's website to change information.
Ohio law requires the County’s to give proper and reasonable notice. When a client did not receive notice of a hearing, we start out in a hole and have to request a new hearing at the County level because the Property Owner was not properly given notice of the complaint or the hearing because of a bad address on file. Check with your county to make sure you contact information is up to date!
Something To Keep You Up At Night
In Ohio, School Boards can also file complaints seeking to increase a property’s value. School Boards all around the State of Ohio review public records (i.e., deeds, recorded conveyance fee statements, mortgages, etc.) to locate recent sales in their district. So, if you bought real estate anytime since January 1, 2014 and the purchase price was more than the County Auditor’s value, then there’s a chance an increase complaint will be waiting in your stack of mail in the coming weeks.
In our experience, commercial properties are scrutinized much more so than residential properties. And some School Boards are more aggressive than others in filing complaints.
Also, we fully expect that School Boards in some of the larger school districts (e.g., Akron, Cincinnati, Cleveland, Columbus, Dayton, & Toledo) will be seeking to increase values on multifamily properties in those areas that have experienced higher demand and new development. Similarly, we expect hotels in large downtown areas to be targeted.
What Can You Do?
If you receive a complaint filed by a School Board, DO NOT ignore it!
It's not a lost cause.
First, review the complaint for accuracy. Then, review your sale documents or your recent income and expense statements. If you’ve recently refinanced your debt, make sure you have a copy of the bank’s appraisal substantiating the loan. Finally, make sure you have three-year's worth of income and expense statements (profit and loss statements), rent rolls, and any recent appraisals together.
If you have any questions, comments or concerns, I can help.
Good luck and call or write if you have any questions!
Copyright © 2017 by Steve Nowak