Property Valuation Topics - Fall 2012

by Pullman & Comley, LLC
Contact

In This Fall 2012 Issue:

2012 Revaluations Move Forward

Lessee Appeal Statute Interpreted Strictly

Property Sale is its Own Best Comparable

Attorney Notes  

2012 Revaluations Move Forward

The Connecticut communities of Ansonia, Berlin, Bristol, Cromwell, Danbury, East Windsor, Farmington, Glastonbury, Naugatuck, New Britain, Orange, Ridgefield, Simsbury, South Windsor, Stamford, Waterbury, Waterford and Windham (Willimantic) are conducting general real estate revaluations as of their October 1, 2012 Grand Lists.  Owners of commercial real estate in these municipalities can expect to receive a new valuation notice from the revaluation company assigned to the task or the local assessor’s office later this year.  It is important to review the new value and all other aspects of this notice promptly in order to take advantage of the informal conference with the revaluation company that is typically made available.  Appointments for these conferences must be made shortly after receipt of the notice.

Members of the Property Valuation Department of Pullman & Comley can be helpful in addressing your revaluation assessment.  (Please note that there are a number of smaller communities also conducting revaluations this year that are not mentioned here.) 

 

Lessee Appeal Statute Interpreted Strictly

Stamford Windustrial Company brought a tax appeal to challenge the value of the property it leased at 54 Sunnyside Avenue in Stamford.  It claimed that it was obliged to pay real estate taxes on the property, but did not assert that its lease or a notice of its lease was recorded on the Stamford Land Records and, in fact, none was recorded.

The applicable appeal statute confers upon the lessee of real estate the ability to appeal its ad valorem assessment if its lease or a notice of lease is recorded.  Pouncing on the company’s failure to record its lease, the City of Stamford moved to dismiss the appeal.  Judge Trial Referee David Tobin agreed. 

In a careful review of the legislative history that led up to the creation of the right of a real property lessee to appeal an ad valorem assessment, Judge Tobin concluded that the General Assembly clearly meant to extend that option only to lessees with recorded leases or notices.  “In the absence of broader language, it is clear that the legislature intended to leave the holding of (a Supreme Court decision which had ruled that lessees have no tax appeal rights at all) intact with respect to unrecorded leases.”

There are other Superior Court rulings which do not enforce the recording requirement as stringently.  In particular, a decision by Judge Trial Referee Arnold W. Aronson several years ago concluded that knowledge by the town of the lessee’s status – as lessee – and its payment of real estate taxes could be asserted to blunt the exclusionary impact of the statute discussed by Judge Tobin.  To the extent there is a conflict over this issue in various trial court decisions, resolution must await further examination by either the Appellate Court or the Supreme Court. 

However, in light of the Appellate Court’s decision in Megin v. Town of New Milford several years ago, it is abundantly clear that no one other than the record title owner or the lessee of a record title holder has the right to institute a real estate tax appeal.

Stamford Windustrial Co. v. City of Stamford, Docket No. CV‑116009771 (July 5, 2012).

For further information, please contact Elliott B. Pollack, Esq. at (860) 424-4340 or ebpollack@pullcom.com or Gregory F. Servodidio, Esq. at (860) 424-4332 or gservodidio@pullcom.com.

 

Property Sale is its Own Best Comparable

Property in Woodbury comprising two parcels was purchased for a total of $2.55 million in November 2007; the purchase prices for both parcels were established in contracts entered into in late 2003 and 2004 – frothy times in the real estate market.  Prior to the closing of the purchases, development approvals were obtained for more than 40,000 square feet of retail store space on the site but a specific application to create a Dunkin Donuts store was denied sometime after the October 1, 2008, Woodbury revaluation.  The plaintiff’s property was initially valued at slightly more than $2.8 million.  An appeal to the Woodbury Board of Assessment Appeals resulted in a reduction to slightly less than $2.4 million.

Both parties’ appraisers relied on the market approach.  But that was the only common thread.  With the plaintiff’s appraiser estimate of value at $710,000 and the Town’s appraiser essentially echoing the BAA‑reduced market value, the court determined that “the most influential sale” for its purposes was in fact the November 2007 acquisition by the plaintiff of the parcels in question.  The court based its conclusion on the fact that while the sale contracts pertain to raw vacant land, the plaintiff had been successful in obtaining development permits and financing prior to the revaluation date.  As a result, the plaintiff had failed to meet his burden of proof.  “(The plaintiff’s appraiser’s) opinion of value for the subject property of $710,000, when the plaintiff purchased the subject property for $2.55 million, less than one year from the date of revaluation, is not credible.”

Reading between the lines a bit, it appears that these properties were purchased just as the real estate market hit its peak and that by the time of the revaluation, slightly less than a year later, the ability to move forward with the development likely was affected by the horrible economic circumstances obtaining as of October 1, 2008.  If this was the case, the court was not presented with sufficient evidence to reach that conclusion and the plaintiff was unfairly saddled with its purchase price as the basis for its assessment.

Eyre, LLC v. Town of Woodbury, Superior Court, Judicial District of New Britain, Docket No. CV-09-4027964, May 16, 2012.

For further information, please contact Laura B. Cardillo, Esq., at (860) 424‑4309 or lcardillo@pullcom.com or Tiffany K. Spinella, Esq. at (860) 424-4360 or tspinella@pullcom.com.

 

Attorney Notes

Gregory F. Servodidio spent two weeks in India during August.  It is reliably reported that he limited his stay there to touring the country and did not litigate any property valuation cases in the Indian courts.

The Property Valuation Attorneys of Pullman & Comley, together with the firm’s Real Estate, Energy and Environmental practices, will be hosting “Unlocking Real Estate Value in Today's Marketplace" on October 24, 2012 at the Connecticut Science Center. This afternoon seminar will provide practical perspectives on realizing your property’s potential and capitalizing on the opportunities available in the current economic and regulatory environments.  For more information please contact program@pullcom.com.

On November 15, Laura Bellotti Cardillo will address members and guests of the Association of Long Term Care Financial Managers on real estate and personal property tax saving strategies.  For further information on this program at the Rocky Hill Sheraton, please visit www.altcfm.org.

[View source.]

Written by:

Pullman & Comley, LLC
Contact
more
less

Pullman & Comley, LLC on:

Readers' Choice 2017
Reporters on Deadline

"My best business intelligence, in one easy email…"

Your first step to building a free, personalized, morning email brief covering pertinent authors and topics on JD Supra:
Sign up using*

Already signed up? Log in here

*By using the service, you signify your acceptance of JD Supra's Privacy Policy.
Privacy Policy (Updated: October 8, 2015):
hide

JD Supra provides users with access to its legal industry publishing services (the "Service") through its website (the "Website") as well as through other sources. Our policies with regard to data collection and use of personal information of users of the Service, regardless of the manner in which users access the Service, and visitors to the Website are set forth in this statement ("Policy"). By using the Service, you signify your acceptance of this Policy.

Information Collection and Use by JD Supra

JD Supra collects users' names, companies, titles, e-mail address and industry. JD Supra also tracks the pages that users visit, logs IP addresses and aggregates non-personally identifiable user data and browser type. This data is gathered using cookies and other technologies.

The information and data collected is used to authenticate users and to send notifications relating to the Service, including email alerts to which users have subscribed; to manage the Service and Website, to improve the Service and to customize the user's experience. This information is also provided to the authors of the content to give them insight into their readership and help them to improve their content, so that it is most useful for our users.

JD Supra does not sell, rent or otherwise provide your details to third parties, other than to the authors of the content on JD Supra.

If you prefer not to enable cookies, you may change your browser settings to disable cookies; however, please note that rejecting cookies while visiting the Website may result in certain parts of the Website not operating correctly or as efficiently as if cookies were allowed.

Email Choice/Opt-out

Users who opt in to receive emails may choose to no longer receive e-mail updates and newsletters by selecting the "opt-out of future email" option in the email they receive from JD Supra or in their JD Supra account management screen.

Security

JD Supra takes reasonable precautions to insure that user information is kept private. We restrict access to user information to those individuals who reasonably need access to perform their job functions, such as our third party email service, customer service personnel and technical staff. However, please note that no method of transmitting or storing data is completely secure and we cannot guarantee the security of user information. Unauthorized entry or use, hardware or software failure, and other factors may compromise the security of user information at any time.

If you have reason to believe that your interaction with us is no longer secure, you must immediately notify us of the problem by contacting us at info@jdsupra.com. In the unlikely event that we believe that the security of your user information in our possession or control may have been compromised, we may seek to notify you of that development and, if so, will endeavor to do so as promptly as practicable under the circumstances.

Sharing and Disclosure of Information JD Supra Collects

Except as otherwise described in this privacy statement, JD Supra will not disclose personal information to any third party unless we believe that disclosure is necessary to: (1) comply with applicable laws; (2) respond to governmental inquiries or requests; (3) comply with valid legal process; (4) protect the rights, privacy, safety or property of JD Supra, users of the Service, Website visitors or the public; (5) permit us to pursue available remedies or limit the damages that we may sustain; and (6) enforce our Terms & Conditions of Use.

In the event there is a change in the corporate structure of JD Supra such as, but not limited to, merger, consolidation, sale, liquidation or transfer of substantial assets, JD Supra may, in its sole discretion, transfer, sell or assign information collected on and through the Service to one or more affiliated or unaffiliated third parties.

Links to Other Websites

This Website and the Service may contain links to other websites. The operator of such other websites may collect information about you, including through cookies or other technologies. If you are using the Service through the Website and link to another site, you will leave the Website and this Policy will not apply to your use of and activity on those other sites. We encourage you to read the legal notices posted on those sites, including their privacy policies. We shall have no responsibility or liability for your visitation to, and the data collection and use practices of, such other sites. This Policy applies solely to the information collected in connection with your use of this Website and does not apply to any practices conducted offline or in connection with any other websites.

Changes in Our Privacy Policy

We reserve the right to change this Policy at any time. Please refer to the date at the top of this page to determine when this Policy was last revised. Any changes to our privacy policy will become effective upon posting of the revised policy on the Website. By continuing to use the Service or Website following such changes, you will be deemed to have agreed to such changes. If you do not agree with the terms of this Policy, as it may be amended from time to time, in whole or part, please do not continue using the Service or the Website.

Contacting JD Supra

If you have any questions about this privacy statement, the practices of this site, your dealings with this Web site, or if you would like to change any of the information you have provided to us, please contact us at: info@jdsupra.com.

- hide
*With LinkedIn, you don't need to create a separate login to manage your free JD Supra account, and we can make suggestions based on your needs and interests. We will not post anything on LinkedIn in your name. Or, sign up using your email address.