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Rochester Assessor’s Office: 6,000+ timeslots filled for property assessment reviews

todayFebruary 7, 2024 6

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ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The City of Rochester says it’s been swamped with requests for property reassessment reviews, so much so, all 6,000 plus remaining time slots have been filled four days ahead of the initial Friday deadline. Homeowners are seeing increases of double, sometimes triple assessed property values in the latest round of appraisals. Reassessments are based on sales of similar homes in the neighborhood, typically happening every four years, as directed by the state.

“We can’t take any more or schedule any more appointments at this time for the informal review process so what we’re doing is people call in…We’ve instructed the call center to send them back to us and we’ll provide the forms for the official process known as the ‘Board of Assessment Review’ but once we get those in, hopefully the property owners will return those quickly and we can still carry on ‘somewhat of an informal process,” says City Assessor Michael Zazzara.

LaShay Harris is the Vice President of Rochester City Counsel who also works as a realtor part-time. She says the ‘fair market value’ is maintaining a ‘sellers market’ since COVID, with home sales purchased well over asking price, essentially commanding a bidding war. Harris recognizes it’s a challenging time, recognizing “nobody wants a tax increase.”

“On the other side, the flip side to that is the Rochester market, we’ve often talked about the redlining and a lot of neighborhoods have been seriously redlined and have suffered for that, so I’m not saying you know I want to see people pay more taxes, but I do see that the redlining can be lifted and that’s hope,” Harris says.

She tells me she recently held an assessment workshop for veterans and seniors in her district ahead of a February 1st deadline for the Star-Exemption program. Harris adds anyone looking to see if they may qualify will have to wait for the next round of appraisals, but encourages people interested in learning about it to reach out to her office, adding she may be able to connect them to other services to offer assistance.

The review process is solely for property or home owners, leaving the tens of thousands of renters up to the discretion of their landlord. Monroe County 22nd District Legislator, Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons the Latino Youth and Development Center (LYDC) off of North Clinton Ave. She tells News8 since the City issued Full Disclosure Notices to property and homeowners at the end of 2023, nearly 100 families have visited the Center, seeking help trying to make ends meet amid sudden rent increases.

“Some of them are on public assistance and that allowance that comes from public assistance may not increase to account so they have to figure out ways on how they can make that or look for alterative homes. Right now with the shortage of housing opportunities, it’s leaving many parents stressed out and looking just for help anyway they can get it,” Vazquez-Simmons says.

The LYDC helps with connecting families and individuals with resources in the community which may be able to help subsidize costs, or other state or federal programs. The Center is also aiming to empower tenants to exercise their voice to their landlords to take action for a review.

“I think this may be a historic moment where it’s a city-wide assessment where every property may see a fluctuation in their assessment value. So we’re encouraging them to say, hey have a conversation with

them and say, ‘Hey could you, Mr. Landlord, Mr. & Ms. Landlord could you please challenge that? Because we can’t take on the burden of this and that’s unfortunately what’s happening,” adds Vazquez-Simmons.

Carlos Vargas is a father who was just informed of a $100 rent increase in the next 90 days. He tells News 8 he understands why the rent is increasing, but concern remains for those in situations where alternative options are limited.

“People think, ‘That, oh it’s only $100,’ but to some families it’s a huge difference, it’s a world of difference,” Vargas says.

“It’s going to be very hard on a lot of people, especially on social services because you’re only allowed a certain budget, you know — and they’re not going to give you an automatic rent increase in the next 90 days because your landlord said it went up $100. Nowadays, even for a family of 1, 2 or 3 — you’re only allowed a certain number of dollars. It’s barely enough to get a 1-bedroom actually,” he adds.

City leaders are encouaging anyone with questions or confusion about all of this to call their offices, or simply dial 311 to be connected to the City’s information line.

The official deadline for property or homeowners to have paperwork submitted for a formal review request, taken up by the State Board of Assessment Review, is March 19th by 8pm.

​ ROCHESTER, N.Y. (WROC) — The City of Rochester says it’s been swamped with requests for property reassessment reviews, so much so, all 6,000 plus remaining time slots have been filled four days ahead of the initial Friday deadline. Homeowners are seeing increases of double, sometimes triple assessed property values in the latest round of appraisals. Reassessments are based on sales of similar homes in the neighborhood, typically happening every four years, as directed by the state.

“We can’t take any more or schedule any more appointments at this time for the informal review process so what we’re doing is people call in…We’ve instructed the call center to send them back to us and we’ll provide the forms for the official process known as the ‘Board of Assessment Review’ but once we get those in, hopefully the property owners will return those quickly and we can still carry on ‘somewhat of an informal process,” says City Assessor Michael Zazzara.

LaShay Harris is the Vice President of Rochester City Counsel who also works as a realtor part-time. She says the ‘fair market value’ is maintaining a ‘sellers market’ since COVID, with home sales purchased well over asking price, essentially commanding a bidding war. Harris recognizes it’s a challenging time, recognizing “nobody wants a tax increase.”

“On the other side, the flip side to that is the Rochester market, we’ve often talked about the redlining and a lot of neighborhoods have been seriously redlined and have suffered for that, so I’m not saying you know I want to see people pay more taxes, but I do see that the redlining can be lifted and that’s hope,” Harris says.

She tells me she recently held an assessment workshop for veterans and seniors in her district ahead of a February 1st deadline for the Star-Exemption program. Harris adds anyone looking to see if they may qualify will have to wait for the next round of appraisals, but encourages people interested in learning about it to reach out to her office, adding she may be able to connect them to other services to offer assistance.

The review process is solely for property or home owners, leaving the tens of thousands of renters up to the discretion of their landlord. Monroe County 22nd District Legislator, Mercedes Vazquez-Simmons the Latino Youth and Development Center (LYDC) off of North Clinton Ave. She tells News8 since the City issued Full Disclosure Notices to property and homeowners at the end of 2023, nearly 100 families have visited the Center, seeking help trying to make ends meet amid sudden rent increases.

“Some of them are on public assistance and that allowance that comes from public assistance may not increase to account so they have to figure out ways on how they can make that or look for alterative homes. Right now with the shortage of housing opportunities, it’s leaving many parents stressed out and looking just for help anyway they can get it,” Vazquez-Simmons says.

The LYDC helps with connecting families and individuals with resources in the community which may be able to help subsidize costs, or other state or federal programs. The Center is also aiming to empower tenants to exercise their voice to their landlords to take action for a review.

“I think this may be a historic moment where it’s a city-wide assessment where every property may see a fluctuation in their assessment value. So we’re encouraging them to say, hey have a conversation with

them and say, ‘Hey could you, Mr. Landlord, Mr. & Ms. Landlord could you please challenge that? Because we can’t take on the burden of this and that’s unfortunately what’s happening,” adds Vazquez-Simmons.

Carlos Vargas is a father who was just informed of a $100 rent increase in the next 90 days. He tells News 8 he understands why the rent is increasing, but concern remains for those in situations where alternative options are limited.

“People think, ‘That, oh it’s only $100,’ but to some families it’s a huge difference, it’s a world of difference,” Vargas says.

“It’s going to be very hard on a lot of people, especially on social services because you’re only allowed a certain budget, you know — and they’re not going to give you an automatic rent increase in the next 90 days because your landlord said it went up $100. Nowadays, even for a family of 1, 2 or 3 — you’re only allowed a certain number of dollars. It’s barely enough to get a 1-bedroom actually,” he adds.

City leaders are encouaging anyone with questions or confusion about all of this to call their offices, or simply dial 311 to be connected to the City’s information line.

The official deadline for property or homeowners to have paperwork submitted for a formal review request, taken up by the State Board of Assessment Review, is March 19th by 8pm. Read More RochesterRochesterFirst  

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