Demolition by Neglect and Vacant Properties
Twenty-one new vacant properties have been reported to CHRS. This begins the process of moving the properties from Class 1 (occupied) to Class 3 (vacant) tax status. If finalized with the Office of Tax and Revenue procedures, this action will:
1. increase the property tax rate more than five-fold
2. eliminate any homestead (owner-occupant) tax reduction
3. alert the city government to the need to abate any nuisance or dangerous condition and, if necessary, bill the owner for the cost of abatement.
The properties listed are:
Among the buildings being reported, for
example, is 216 Ninth Street. This property’s look of
abandonment is confirmed by the disconnected utility
connections. It is currently paying Class 1 (occupied) tax
rates. Actions that make the property owner more inclined to
renovate or sell the house improve the livability of our
Unoccupied houses decrease the property values of surrounding homes, harbor rodents, and threaten the safety of the common walls of row houses.
To discover if a building is currently assessed as occupied, enter the street address online at the taxpayer service center.
To find a form to report abandoned and/or hazardous properties, go to DCRA.
Please provide a copy of your report to CHRS at either 420 Tenth Street, SE 20003 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Taxes have increased fivefold on these
vacant properties in the 200 block of 11th Street, SE.
Photo: Gary Peterson
CHRS Effort to Revise Tax
Status of Eleven Properties Succeeds
by Gary Peterson
After three years of effort, CHRS has
gotten the Office of Tax and Revenue (OTR) to enforce the
Class 3 tax rate for vacant properties. The change of 11
properties on Capitol Hill from Class 1 to Class 3 has
resulted in an additional $150,000 in additional real
property taxes. It has taken this long to reclassify the
properties to Class 3 because the process to change a
property to Class 3 is extremely burdensome and requires the
coordination of efforts between two
The reclassification from Class 1 (occupied) to Class 3 (vacant) requires that the Department of Consumer and Regulatory Affairs (DCRA) first inspect the property and determine that the property reported vacant is indeed vacant. The owner of the property may object to the classification of vacant and the objection must be resolved. DCRA then certifies to OTR that the property is vacant and OTR sends notice of change to Class 3 to the owner. The owner then has an opportunity to object. After the objection is resolved or if no objection is made, the property is changed to Class 3 and the taxes increase from 96 cents per hundred dollars of valuation to five dollars per hundred.
Surprisingly, several owners of vacant properties have claimed they are occupied. CHRS has addressed this issue by providing DCRA and OTR with photographic evidence and affidavits from neighbors proving the property is vacant. The process to reclassify is further prolonged because property owners are given two opportunities to object to the classification of vacant, once to DCRA and a second time to OTR.
You can help deal with vacant properties by following this link. If there is a property you believe to be vacant that is not listed as Class 3 on this web site, please send an email to email@example.com. Be sure to include the address and any information about the property such as how long it has been vacant.
CHRS hopes the Class 3 tax will encourage owners of vacant properties to improve them. Vacant properties cause too many problems for their neighbors.
Community News & Issues
© Copyright 2001-2009, Capitol Hill Restoration Society. All rights reserved. Last updated October 28, 2012.
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