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Q&A: Waiting for Abatement

Q. Since 2003, I have been a resident/owner of a condo in Riverdale. Last year, I became aware of the building’s eligibility for the NYC condo tax abatement program. No other owners in the building knew anything of the program. Most owners (including the board) assumed the only applicable program was the STAR exemption.  

However, this year and with the help of DOF and elected officials, the building manager promised to file timely—she did not. My taxes are slightly more than $5,000 a year, so I am overpaying about $1,400 a year in real estate taxes.  

Whose is liable? Please let me know if the board and the management company are both liable for failing to file for my building’s real estate tax abatement.  

                                                 —Overpaying

A. Slava Hazin, partner at New York City law firm ​​Warshaw Burstein, says, “It is the responsibility of the managing agent and the board of managers of your condo to apply for the NYC co-op and condo real estate tax abatement program, which provides an abatement of up to 17.5% to eligible owners. The managing agent should have previously applied for this abatement, and its failure to do so, especially after the building manager advised you she will file it, makes the managing agent, as well as the condo, liable not only you, but also to other unit owners who are eligible to receive this abatement. This is a serious lapse in their respective duties and calls into question whether the condo needs to hire a new managing agent and elect a new board.”

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