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Could real estate disputes arise from change to tax law?

Throughout New York City and surrounding areas, there are vacant plots of land that have sat dormant for many years. Despite the fact that the property value of these lots has increased over the years, owners continue to sit back and do nothing.

Due to the fact that many of these properties are zoned for residential use only, it is assessed the same way as low-density single family dwellings. Subsequently, owners are paying a very small amount of property taxes on land that is worth millions.

For this reason, mayor-elect Bill de Blasio has been pushed to raise taxes on vacant land as a means of forcing owners to either build houses on the land or sell the land to somebody who will plan to do so.

Mr. de Blasio has plans to carry out this strategy and as a result more than 10,000 lots would be impacted. A five year phase in period would eventually lead to an increase of an average of $15,300 per lot.

The primary goal of this change is simple. By increasing the cost on vacant lots, owners would be forced into either developing the land or selling it to somebody who would be able to do so.

While this idea appears to be moving forward, there is a good chance it will lead to a real estate dispute among those who currently own the land. Anybody who finds themselves mixed up in a similar issue should contact an experienced real estate attorney for guidance since navigating the legal system can get sticky in no time.

Source: Crain's New York Business, "De Blasio tells lot owners to put up or pay up" Joe Anuta, Nov. 24, 2013

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