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Do municipalities have authority to assess condo associations?

Posted on Thu, Mar 14, 2013 @ 06:50 AM
I live in Homer, Alaska and own a condo in Homer and one in Anchorage. My situation is legal and involves a municipality's power to "assess". It looks like my Homer City Council is "making condo assessment law" which could end up affecting condos in the entire state. Basically, they have assumed the legal position that the 'law' makes them assess each condo unit and fully assess each. For example, two identical lots and buildings. One lot is a ten unit apartment and the other is a ten condo building. Apartments are assessed once....the condos are assessed ten times. Can you help? Looking for a national or statewide organization that recognizes condo owners does not seem to exist.

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I believe the "assess" you referring to is the "assessed value" of the property and it is used to levy property tax. 
Typically county governments assess the value of the condo, not the buildings or the land. Unfair to owners of a house? Not really because of the density of properties, so per acre the taxing body is actually gets more revenue for a condo development. 
Apartments are typically assessed based on the assessed value of the entire building and the land. 
What you have described is common practice and based completely on how the property is deeded.

posted @ Thursday, March 14, 2013 7:27 AM by Ron - NC

Ron is correct. Seems fundamental.

posted @ Thursday, March 14, 2013 7:45 AM by RPB

Ron gave the answer.  
Basically they assess the owner of property for each unit of property they own. One apartment building (of ten units) and one owner (or set) of owners of one property assessed once. Ten unit owners each owning 10 properties are assessed ten times but once each.  
That is how it is done in my city. And I do not understand why the original poster is posing the question because the concept seems self evident and obvious, and normal practice everywhere.

posted @ Thursday, March 14, 2013 8:01 AM by john_mastro

That is due to the ownership type. It is odd though in some areas a ten unit apartment building is worth more than 10 condo units due to investor demand for apartment buildings for income with rising rents and rates of return for money market.

posted @ Thursday, March 14, 2013 8:12 AM by Mark the Appriaser

I can only comment on how property taxes are assessed in Florida. Can't imagine it being that different any other states though.  
In FL the association itself, in the vast majority of situations, doesn't get a bill for property taxes. The tax assessor comes out and values the entire property, meaning common elements, units, etc. They then assign a value to the unit and then allocate a certain percentage of the value of the common elements to each unit. So assuming there are 100 equally units, each unit would be paying for 1% of the taxes for the common elements, plus for their unit. I'm pretty sure if the building is 100 apartments, or 100 condos, the sum of the taxes for all the units/apartments would be the same.  
as far as a statewide or national condo organization there's the Community Association Institute. They aren't just national but I believe they've gone global.

posted @ Thursday, March 14, 2013 8:17 AM by Brandon

In Nebraska, where I am the common elements are considered part of the deed. 
The assessment is based off the theoretical resale price. There is no extra assessment added on for a percentage of the common elements that go with the deed. The deed states each unit owner owns his 3-dimentional space and a percentage of the common elements. Where it gets dicey and problematic is often the association board and the unit owners do not know what elements are common elements as opposed to elements owned by the unit owners.  
There is no universal differentiation there and so every unit owner needs to be aware of the tremendous jurisdictional differences and individual association differences in definitions of common versus private elements. So the original poster needs to be aware that the answer his question is essentially local and determined by his jurisdiction and his associations documents. 
So not only is it incumbent on every unit owner to RYDF (Read Your Documents First), but also read municipal code, state code, in addition!! It is a little much for some people on the lower end of the reading comprehension scale and even the lawyers disagree on the interpretations.

posted @ Thursday, March 14, 2013 10:04 AM by john_mastro

Usually your state law will declare that a Condominium unit is deemed to be a parcel and shall be subject to separate assessments and taxation by each asessing unit of all types of taxes authorized by law. In other words your Condo unit is just like a house for Real Estate tax purposes.

posted @ Thursday, March 14, 2013 11:32 AM by Don

If assess means taxes, your question has been answered correctly. You want to speak to a real estate attorney if you have any questions. 
If you are looking for organizations, try Community Associations Institute, a nationwide organization. They may or may not have an Alaska chapter, but definitely can help on condominium issues - http://www.caionline.org/Pages/Default.aspx.

posted @ Thursday, March 14, 2013 1:54 PM by Joe Schuirmann

Homer Alaska: population 5000 in the edge of nowhere: Is this a fake post address or what?

posted @ Saturday, March 16, 2013 12:00 PM by john_mastro

The city of Homer is planning a special assessment (tax) to pay for expansion of natural gas. It appears that each condo unit has to pay the same amount as an entire apartment building, over $3,000. I am not the OP, that is all I know about it. 

posted @ Saturday, March 16, 2013 1:17 PM by JT

Now everything is clear. The original poster was not all that clear in framing his question about a special assessment a city is imposing on property owners in his city. 
I read the links and the opinion of the lawyers hired by the city councils man. A law suit has been filed but the lawyers the city hired have opinions that the method of assessment of the city will prevail.  
As I had written above, these issues are hard to have a definitive understanding of because of the complexities of jurisdictional variance in the law. It is going to take a litigation process to sort this one out. Plus the OP really did not write a very clear question.

posted @ Saturday, March 16, 2013 9:10 PM by john_mastro

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