Is Demolishing Long Island’s Vacant Homes Helping Lower Your Property Tax Burden?

Demolition on over 2,000 vacant Long Island homes has begun. Will this finally bring relief to neighbors? Or will this strategy only drive up the property tax burden for locals? What might be a smarter strategy?

A September 4th, 2014 report from Bloomberg News reveals big banks have been side stepping regulators’ efforts to curb foreclosures, with more than $1 trillion in mortgage loans being transferred to non-bank holding companies in just the last two years. According to homeowners and analysts these strategies have just so happened to enable bankers to duck opportunities to help until equity has returned and it is more appealing to seize and resell them.

Ironically Brookhaven Town Supervisor Ed Romaine specifically points to banks as the chief culprits in neglecting their duties to maintaining vacant and foreclosed Long Island homes. CBS New York reports that the first of over 2,000 local properties was torn down on September 3rd, 2014.

Local residents have complained about the “eye-sores” which plague their high property tax neighborhoods. However, many may not be considering the ultimate tax consequences.

While some of these homes ought to be condemned, demolishing houses costs a lot more than most think. This means piling on more financial burden to towns and the county. These entities may ultimately be reimbursed down the road, but that could be years away. In the short term, fewer tax revenue generating properties, followed by vacant lots which may produce little income can be more of a drain on services.

One option which was previous floated included seizing properties by eminent domain. This could allow them to be immediately resold and built on or fixed up, so that they begin fulfilling their maximum potential for contributing to budget needs. In Detroit which has been going through a similar situation homes have been given away to entrepreneurs and business that will improve them, fix them up, and help create more jobs, and ultimately even out the tax burden for everyone.

Unfortunately, right now public help appears limited to headlines highlighting major tax breaks to big wealthy developers.

Given Long Island’s top 10 highest median property tax districts see homeowners paying $17,000 to over $118,000, and individuals paying as much as $484,000 a year in taxes it is understandable many are upset and want to see some action being taken.

Still, for now, the best strategy, if not the only viable one for reducing their own property tax bills for Long Island homeowners is to seek out the assistance of a professional property tax adjuster.

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