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Significant Change Proposed by Councilman Ed Kress, Board of Viewers Filing Fee Increases

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This article will provide readers with the latest property assessment updates in Allegheny County.

A Significant Change in the Appeals Process is Proposed by County Councilman Ed Kress

Allegheny County Councilman Ed Kress proposed a piece of legislation earlier this week that could have a significant impact on the Allegheny County property appeals process.

Currently, the Allegheny County property appeals process requires property owners to attend first level hearings in person downtown at the County Office Building. At these hearings, property owners (or their representative) are permitted to make their case. This often includes testimony about the specifics of the property, appraisals, and/or research about comparable sales in the area.

Though there are many benefits of these in-person hearings, they can be inconvenient for some. Specifically, older Allegheny County residents are dissuaded from pursuing an appeal because making a trip downtown is difficult. This can also create problems for those who do not work near downtown, or cannot take time off of work to attend a hearing.

This proposed legislation would allow property owners to merely send in independent appraisals for their properties. A state-certified appraiser would then review the information.

At this point, it is unclear if this legislation will be passed. It does, however, highlight the extreme frustration that many property owners have voiced in Allegheny County over the past few years.

The Board of Viewers Filing Fee Increases

When a property owner receives a first level decision for their appeal, they have thirty days to appeal it. If the property owner does decide to appeal, their case will be docketed at the Board of Viewers. The Board of Viewers is a division of the Court of Common Pleas of Allegheny County.

In filing this appeal, the property owner (or their representative) files the appropriate paperwork with the Department of Court Records. In 2013, the filing fee for this type of appeal was $103.00. Beginning in 2014, the filing fee has increased to $118.50. Property owners must pay this filing fee, and will not be refunded even if their appeal is successful.

The filing of this second level appeal is often necessary in appeal cases. This is likely another aspect of the appeals process that will continue to frustrate property owners moving forward.
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If you have any additional questions about property assessments in Allegheny County, or any other county in Pennsylvania, or you would like a free consultation for your tax appeal case, please feel free to contact Attorney Noah Paul Fardo or Attorney Nicole Hauptman for a free consultation at (412) 802-6666 or by email at info@pghfirm.com.

About Nicole Hauptman

Attorney Nicole M. Hauptman is a partner in the Pittsburgh law firm of Flaherty Fardo, LLC. She practices in medical malpractice, serious personal injuries and real estate litigation. She may be contacted at nicole@pghfirm.com or you can find her on Google+.

2 Comments

  1. William Westlake

    In addition, I was wondering if it is possible to file a freedom of information request pertinent to the decision-making process that follows the scheduled in-person hearing with a consultant. Using four recent assessments for the Wallace Park Townhouse community, the consultant I spoke with told me I had a strong appeal case, but it came to an insulting alteration of land and building changes yielding the initial total market value. There is no stated justification for how these matters are ruled upon. 412-983-0142 We are currently out of town until the first week of April.

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