Friday, March 28, 2014

Arlington County's Residential Real Estate Assessment System - Class Action Lawsuit Waiting to Happen?

Hello,

We head several complaints from Fairlington residents about the 2014 real estate assessments for their condominiums. Fairlington's condo units have more than 15 different floor plans, with various amounts of interior space. In general, assessment increases for 2014 were inversely proportional to the size of a Fairlington condo unit. Moreover, it appears that all condo units having the same size and floor plan have been assessed identically, not only this year, but for at least the past 11 years. So, no matter how much, or how little, money you put into a condo unit since 2003 the only thing that matters to Arlington's Assessment Staff is the sales price of condo units of the same size and floor plan. No sales, no assessment increase. Appears there is a huge amount of building permit data for residential housing across Arlington but these data are never used to estimate the value of improvements. Is this assessment system fair? Some Fairlington residents don't think so. And they're checking out their legal options.

You can see what condo units in your neighborhood with the same floor plan and interior space are assessed for by going to the County's Web page, arlingtonva.us, and clicking on Real Estate Assessments and then Look Up Property Now and enter a street name,  leaving the number field blank. Then go up or down the screen clicking on each Parcel ID.

Cindy

32 Comments:

At 28 March, 2014 , Anonymous Bonnie - 22206 said...

Cindy, my next door neighbor had her condo massively upgraded two years ago. It's a larger unit than mine and her 2014 assessment went up 2.2% while mine went up 11.1%

 
At 28 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Don't worry, be happy. Your Fairlington assessment increases will pay for important County-wide infrastructure like a Columbia Pike and a Crystal City streetcar system, a mullti-purpose spa-waterpark-swimming and diving facility and a legacy County Office Building.

 
At 28 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Explains why my assessment increased while my neighbor's (lives in a larger condo unit) actually decreased. Oh, she moved out for 3 weeks last Summer while her condo was being remodeled.

 
At 28 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this legal? Making people pay more than their neighbors with much larger condo units that have had major upgrades?

 
At 28 March, 2014 , Anonymous fairgirl said...

IN-credible. Hundreds of condo units have all gone up and down by exactly the same amount each year for past 11 years.

 
At 28 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Is this fair to condo owners who have made renovations and can't get the sales price they want because of much loser assessed values in the neighborhood?

 
At 28 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Next economic downturn, guess what happens.

 
At 28 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

My grandmother lives in a city where building permits are part of the assessment process. My uncle who does home renovation for a living renovated her townhouse without obtaining building permits. So guess what happened when she sold her townhouse to move to a senior condo?

 
At 28 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wild guess...No one wanted to pay what the home was really worth?

 
At 28 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Who profits from this assessment system? Condo flippers who make a few improvements and install new appliances and sell way above the assessed value?

 
At 28 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

They are all assessed the same, year after year.

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cindy, I called the Assessment Office several times last month to ask about Arlington's assessment "system". No one returned my calls.

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

What IS Arlington's residential real estate assessment system anyway? There is a huge staff at 2100 Clarendon Blvd. that apparently averages the sales price (if there are any sales) for similar housing units in each neighborhood and whatever that number turns out to be is our assessment for the year. Same thing every year for at least the past 11 years.

How much are we paying these people to do 4th Grade Math with a $5 calculator?

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Cindy, there are massive amounts of building permit data on DES's computers going back to 1999.

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Let me tell you a true story about building permit data and assessments. My sister lived in NC and had her son, who was and is in the construction business, remodel her home without obtaining permits. So she could save on her real estate taxes. Which she did. She had long-time chronic health problems and died after a short illness. No one would pay anywhere near what her home was worth when it was sold.

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How much are we paying these people to do 4th Grade Math with a $5 calculator?

There are at least 500 County employees who hold another weekday full time or part time job while employed by the County.

In case you wondered why no one returns your phone calls and e-mail.

So, not surprising they have a KISS assessment system.

BTW, there is a big demand for home assessments by experienced real estate assessors. That's how the listing price vs. the real estate assessment of for-sale homes gets determined.

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Oh, I see. Another Charade. Like the Smart Growth Charade, Affordable Housing Charade, Car Free Diet Charade, Community Energy Charade, and so on.

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Moat local governments are corrupt. Arlington's is more corrupt than most.

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

So let me get this right. Some intern at 2100 is computing our annual condo assessments with a $5 calculator while Arlington's Tax Assessors are out assessing condos for Joe the Realtor before Joe lists the condos via the MLS?

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous 2100 too said...

It gets worse, Arlington's Chief Assessor flat out lied to Libby Garvey during a Budget Work Session when she asked him about the assessment disparities in Fairlington.

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Are any of these Assessment Antics like ILLEGAL?

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

OMG, I read this blog for the first time and it's obvious that Arlington is a major league federal anti-corruption investigation waiting to happen.

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous 22206-1313 said...

Anyone know of an Arlington attorney I and my neighbors can retain to fight these assessment antics?

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Try Aristotolis Chronis whose law practice is limited to land use, planning, development, zoning, etc., matters.

achronis at chronislaw.com

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

If the ObamaCrats didn't control the ENTIRE Federal, State, Local Judicial and LE systems I would tell everyone to call the U.S. Attorney's Financial Crimes and Public Corruption Unit at 703-299-3700.

 
At 29 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

This has been going on for E L E V E N (11) years?

 
At 30 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Local media have gone with this for how many years?

 
At 30 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

Local Media? You mean like ArlNow where at lest 1/3 of the comments are posted by people who work at 2100 Clarendon Blvd.?

 
At 30 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I guess I'm fortunate that my condo's assessment only increased by 4.2%

 
At 31 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also have to ask - is this assessment 'system' legal?

 
At 31 March, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

I also called the assessment office about this, my assessment increased by 9%, and no one returned my phone calls.

 
At 01 April, 2014 , Anonymous Anonymous said...

How else are they going to fund their extravagant public infrastructure?

 

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