ATTENTION DC PROPERTY OWNERS — IS YOUR PROPERTY VACANT?
BE CAREFUL, YOU MAY BE IN STORE FOR A BIG AND UNFORTUNATE SURPRISE FROM DC TAX AND REVENUE!
Many laws start off as well-intended … but end up both taking on a life of their own. Another example where, because of government implementation, the good laws get out of control. This is often the case with the District’s implementation of its vacant and blighted nuisance laws. These laws are quite old – over 100 years – but have been changed in the last decade to permit the District to declare a property “vacant” or “blighted” based upon a number of factors. If so declared by the District, the property otherwise taxed at 1.65% of assessed value can skyrocket to 5% or 10% of assessed value. The failure to timely pay the new tax impositions results carries penalties, interest, and can eventually be auctioned off at tax sale if not timely paid. Weiss LLP has handled many appeals of these citations and have been successful. The Department of Buildings is on a rampage – either as a result of complaints or to raise revenues. It’s important that you read on!
There are exemptions to appeal the vacant/blighted classification but only a few. Sure, there are some exceptions but they are being strictly interpreted and it can become difficult to secure an exemption. The three significant exemptions are for pending building permits, hardship, and pending brokerage agreements for lease or sale. However, you are not exempted if you cannot secure a building permit because of government delays, material deliveries, or other event outside of your control. The easiest way to secure the exemption is by having your property listed for sale or lease by a local licensed real estate broker – that works! Just because you don’t end up selling or renting the property doesn’t lose you the exemption and you can agree to have a termination clause in the brokerage agreement as you and the broker agree. THIS IS AN IMPORTANT WAY TO AVOID THE TAX INCREASE! Call Weiss LLP with your questions at 202-296-2121 or write to Randy Alan Weiss at firstname.lastname@example.org.