Incorrect square footage warrants tax revaluation


June 27, 1999

Dear Mr. Azrael:

I recently found out that the measurements made in my house in 1979 were larger than they really were by a considerable amount.

Because of it, the square footage of the house has been listed as much larger than my actual square footage, and I didn't realize this.

How do I ask that my house be re-measured for assessment purposes?

Krumbein Simeon, Baltimore

Dear Mr. Simeon:

Each county in Maryland, and Baltimore City, assesses real property in a three-year cycle.

In Baltimore, the city is divided into three areas. All real property in each area is revalued, based on a physical inspection, every three years, and each year one of the areas is reassessed. The State Department of Assessments performs the property valuations. The valuation date -- or date of finality -- is Jan. 1.

Within the three-year cycle, property shall be revalued if certain factors cause a change in the value of property. One of these factors is "an error in calculation or measurement of the real property caused the value to be erroneous."

You should notify the supervisor of assessments that you believe an error in measurement has occurred. Your notice should be in writing and should request a new physical inspection and reassessment. If you know the accurate square footage of your home and the size of your property you should provide it, along with an accurate property plat and floor plan, if available.

Other circumstances triggering an "out-of-cycle" assessment include:

A change in zoning classification initiated by an owner or anyone having an interest in the property.

Substantially completed improvements are made which add at least $50,000 to the value of the property.

A change in use or character of the property occurs.

A property subdivision is made.

Improvements are damaged by a fire, flood, storm or other natural occurrence, unless the property is replaced or restored.

The State Assessment Department sends the owner a final notice explaining any revaluation of real property. Administrative appeal procedures are available to property owners who are dissatisfied with their assessments.

Pub Date: 6/27/99

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