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Bill Seeks to Change Cooperative Classification

Senator Toby Ann Stavisky has introduced a bill that hopes to address recent assessment increased faced by Queens cooperatives and condominiums.
Valuation Assessments released by the New York City Department of Finance (DOF) at the beginning of the year showed increases of more than 100 percent for some cooperatives. The increased assessments mean increases in taxes.
Currently, co-ops and condos fall under class two properties, which are the same as rental income properties.
Stavisky’s recently introduced bill, S4283, would change the classification of co-ops and condos to class two – the same as that of one and two-family homes.
“It makes sense to classify co-ops and condos the same way we do one- and two-family houses, because a co-op or condo building is essentially just a collection of one-family homes,” Stavisky said. “These are primary residences, not income-generating properties, and the owners should be assessed and pay taxes accordingly. Co-ops and condos are more closely aligned in their structure of ownership to private homes than to rental properties.”
Stavisky also said something needs to be done about the current assessments.
“These assessments must be reversed,” she said.
Queens Assemblymember Edward Braunstein is also sponsoring this legislation.
Presidents Co-op Council co-founder Warren Schreiber is in favor of the bill.
“The legislation introduced by State Senator Stavisky and Assemblymember Ed Braunstein, which would put an annual cap on assessments of co-ops and condos, is long overdue and definitely needed,” he said. “Co-ops and condos would finally be recognized as single family dwellings and be assessed in the same manner as private homes.”
Schreiber, who is also president of the Bay Terrace Community Alliance and Bay Terrace Cooperative, Section I, feels this will help keep co-ops and condos affordable.
“This would bring a much needed measure of financial predictability and stability to what is in large part the last bastion of middle class housing in New York City,” Schreiber said. “As property taxes continue to rise, many long time residents including senior citizens and those on fixed incomes could be forced from their apartments and young families may be unable to make an investment in their future.”
In April, the DOF attributed the large increases to “computer glitches.” On April 12, Stavisky also announced she had filed a Freedom of Information Law request to find out what the glitches were, since during a phone call with an assistant commissioner she was told she could not be given a list of errors.
“Co-ops face a May 25, 2011 date when the increases will take effect,” she said. “We cannot wait while the commissioner decides what information to release. I believe, as a co-op shareholder and as an elected official, that my constituents are entitled to full disclosure.”

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