For more than 100 years, landlords and triple net tenants alike commonly filed tax appeals and exemptions in New York to reduce their assessments. According to New York Real Property Tax Law Section 524(3), “a complainant who is dissatisfied with a property assessment may seek administrative review by filing a grievance complaint with the assessor.” This all changed in 2012 when the New York State Appellate Division denied a petitioner’s request to file an exemption on the grounds the petitioner did not own the property. Five years later in 2017, the courts applied this new ownership requirement to dismiss tax certiorari petitions filed by non-owner occupants. Thousands of appeals filed by the lessees were placed in jeopardy, with many being dismissed, even though contractually the tenants were obligated to pay the real estate taxes.
In June 2022, the Court of Appeals reversed the Appellate Division’s overreaching restrictive decision by concluding legislative history and court precedents did not intend to exclude tenants from protesting an assessment.
Here at Ryan, our tax experts thoroughly read the leases to confirm which party, be it owner or tenant, has the right to file an appeal.