Gary H. Smith
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Unfair Property Tax Assessments Burden Commercial and Residential Landlords in Cook County

By Gary Smith
Unfair Property Tax Assessments Burden Commercial and Residential Landlords in Cook County

Many landlords for commercial and residential properties in Cook County are burdened by unfair property tax assessments that prevent them from adequately servicing their tenants. While Kaegi’s recent push to improve the accuracy of the county’s assessment process through transparency has left many real estate investors shouldering an even larger share than before, property tax attorneys can help them file appeals to obtain fair assessments that may lower their taxes.

Factors That Impact Property Tax Assessments

Several factors can affect property tax assessments and potentially reduce the tax burden for landlords. These could include:

  • Property Vacancies – Assessors could assume that the building is operating at capacity, but a lower assessment may be achievable if circumstances have led to a reduced number of tenants.
  • Property Condition – Property that is considered unusable because of unanticipated circumstances such as a flood or fire may be considered grounds for vacancy relief.
  • Similar Local Assessments – The tax assessments for local properties in the area should influence the assessment of a landlord’s property.
  • Reduced Income Resulting from Renovations – Landlords may be entitled to tax relief if necessary maintenance and renovations resulted in a decline in renters or rental income.

Other ordinances and state laws could further impact the tax assessment, and landlords may also qualify for certain exemptions.

Unfair property tax assessments unnecessarily drain commercial and residential landlord resources. With the help of a property tax attorney, landlords can more effectively appeal a tax assessment that they suspect is incorrect. An attorney will typically look at data such as purchase prices, revenue, rents, and construction expenses to help determine the overall accuracy of an assessment.

Making Progress in Accuracy Through the County Assessor’s Office

Since the introduction of a new law in 2019 and the efforts of Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi, many landlords for residential and commercial properties have seen an increased tax burden. While Kaegi has stated that this wasn’t his intent, many landlords contest that he’s serving as a redistributionist under the guise of a reformer when it comes to Cook County tax assessments.

Regardless of an attempt at progress, landlords are likely to continue to experience a tax burden in Cook County.