Since 2004, School Districts have been aggressively filing property appeals against property owners. Their target has primarily been recent home buyers. Their rationale is that if you bought a house for $500,000.00, and you are only assessed at $300,000.00 then your property taxes should be raised closer to your sales price. On first glance, this may seem rational. However, it is flawed for two primary reasons. The best property assessment appeal lawyers in Allegheny County - Flaherty & Fardo - are here to break it down for you.
If two neighbors are identical, and the county certifies the value of both properties at $300,000.00, then both pay taxes on an assessed value of $300,000.00. However, let’s assume, one of the houses then sells for $500,000.00. The school district will file a property tax appeal against the one property only based upon the recent sale price. In essence, the school districts want to establish that two identical homes should be assessed differently because one of them sold. We believe it is unconstitutional to assess identical properties differently.
A sale price is not always indicative of the true market value. Property owners often pay higher or lower than the true price of a property for many reasons. We have had clients move to Pittsburgh from New York, Virginia, and California -- all areas where market values were substantially higher. These owners all substantially overpaid for properties based upon their prior locations and the real estate markets in those locations. Also, Judge Wettick’s November 10, 2009 Opinion and Order of Court further clarified in a 33 page Opinion why appealing just the recent home buyers makes the use of an indefinite base year unconstitutional.
When it comes to property assessments in Allegheny County, make sure you have trusted lawyers looking out for you best interests. Get in touch with Flaherty & Fardo to learn more about how we can begin helping you with a free consultation and appeal your property assessment.