Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Got Illegal Rooming Houses? Appeal Your Assessment.

In September, 2007, I wrote about illegal rooming houses and the effect they have on the value of your home in my blog entry entitled “Are Rooming Houses Lowering Your Property Values?” (Click here to read that entry.) Today's blog entry is a call for action.

For those readers who live within the city limits of Bellingham and just received their real estate valuation notices (click here to read the Herald article), you can appeal the phenomenal increases if your street is plagued with illegal rooming houses. Even one illegal rooming house next door or across the street affects your home’s value. Earlier this year, a Samish Neighborhood couple heeded my advice and had their home’s assessment decreased by more than $20,000 based on the proliferation of illegal rooming houses on their street. These illegal rentals effectively turn your neighborhood into rooming house districts which are, in effect, multi-family, high density housing. If you wish to sell your home, the presence of these illegal rentals devalues your property and makes it more difficult to sell.

It is time to take this de facto rezoning home to the city management (which shares in the Whatcom property tax collection) and to tell them that there is a cost to ignoring illegal and uncontrolled infill. You can get your valuation appeal form by clicking here. To read more about the appeal process, click here. Ask your neighbors to join you in the appeal process. All of you must file separate appeals but the basis, illegal rooming house-ification, will be common to each appeal.

I would like to hear your appeal stories. Send me an email at zonemaven AT hotmail DOT com. (Replace AT and DOT with the appropriate symbols.)

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