Sunday, September 30, 2007

Are Rooming Houses Lowering Your Property Values? Appeal Your Real Estate Valuation.

If those rooming houses on your street are ruining your quality of life, chances are they are also lowering your property values. Hulk vehicles, trash, poor maintenance, loud parties, public urination and public intoxication can be reasons you can use to challenge the assessed value of your property. I recently spoke to a homeowner on 34th Street who had more than $20,000 shaved off her home valuation by the Whatcom County Board of Equalization based on the increased number of illegal and unmaintained rooming houses. She will see a reduction in her real estate taxes and the local governments will see a decrease in revenue. It is time to hit ‘em where it hurts, in the pocketbook. Perhaps then those responsible for non-enforcement of single family zoning will wake up and smell the coffee.

From the Whatcom County website: “The Board [of Equalization is wholly separate and apart from the Assessor's Office. They are comprised of three County residents appointed by the Whatcom County Council to three year terms. Board members are selected for their knowledge of real estate values and each member is required by law to attend an intensive five day course on the valuation of real property. Board members are salaried while they are in session and receive yearly continuing education from the Washington State Department of Revenue. The Board is directed by state law (Revised Code of Washington, RCW, and Washington Administrative Code, WAC). A list of Whatcom County's current Board members is available upon request.”

To appeal the assessed value of your home, go to the Whatcom County website (click here) It is a simple process as I was told by the homeowner above. The website provides a form (click here) . With your appeal, include photos of the rooming houses showing the trash, poor maintenance, etc. Include copies of police reports on noise violations or disorderly conduct. Copies of letters or other communication you may have had with the landlord may also be helpful.

If you had to sell your home tomorrow, would you receive top dollar or would prospective buyers ignore your home because of the adverse impact of rooming houses on your street?

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