Property appraisers seek to help landowners with taxes
Florida’s elected property appraisers are collaborating to help property owners throughout the state pay their taxes amid the greatest economic and housing crisis in a decade, according to Miami-Dade Property Appraiser Pedro Garcia.
With the cooperation of state legislators, who have shown “100%” willingness to discuss solutions, he said, relief for those struggling to survive could be on the way.
“Maybe we’ll delay payments of taxes, let people pay in different installments or … see if we can get the penalties out,” Mr. Garcia told Miami Today. “I’m very concerned with commercial properties, all rental properties, and for owners of any kind of property, because the amount of people we have that are unemployed – how will they pay their rent? How will they pay their mortgage? It’s a tremendous combination of difficulties we’re going to have this year.”
Mr. Garcia’s preliminary certification of taxable values for the county, released this month, shows a year-over-year increase of 5.1% in property values. That includes more than $8 billion in new taxable value.
Like years before, much of those gains were driven by construction that “continues to dominate the real estate market” here, he wrote in the report.
But because state law requires property appraisers to base their assessments on property and market conditions on Jan. 1, tax rolls due in November will almost certainly not reflect the real situation most Floridians find themselves in as the coronavirus pandemic continues to ravage the state’s top industries.
Florida has “faced the perfect storm of elevated Covid-19 cases and the subsequent collapse of the spring and summer tourism market, which curtailed home-purchase demand enough to keep a lid on home price gains over the coming year,” a July 7 CoreLogic report said.
The financial services company projected a 6.4% year-over-year dip in values in the Miami-Miami Beach-Kendall area, whose properties it rated as “overvalued,” effectively erasing gains there and, most likely, elsewhere in the county.
“Everybody agrees we have a problem,” Mr. Garcia said. “We need to do something, and this is the right time to get some ideas in from all the property appraisers, present them to legislators and see what kind of legal ways we have to help people.”
In the meantime, property owners should do as much as possible to help themselves. That starts with getting one’s records and paperwork in order, he said.
Rental property owners, he said, should work with their accountants on personal finance reports that detail all costs, assets, rentals, vacancies and other pertinent information. They then should give the information to his office.
“Give information on people delaying rental payments, on commercial businesses that move away,” he said. “We’re talking about apartment, industrial and commercial. It’s also office rentals. A lot of people are working from home, and I don’t believe there will be a lot of people coming back to their office unless they deal with the public.”
While it’s possible that the market will rebound within the next two years, next year will a “completely new situation for us,” he said, as business here struggle to stay afloat.
“We’re navigating strange waters,” he said. “We have a lot of people unemployed, a lot of problems with the economy. The banks are working with most people on mortgages and offering [things] like, ‘These three months, you’ll pay at the end of the mortgage’ and other breaks to them, which is helping them a bit. [But] if we keep businesses closed, a lot of rentals are going to have problems.”
Details: (305) 375-4712 or http://www.miamidade.gov/pa/.