Every six years, the comprehensive Cuyahoga County Property Reappraisal evaluates all commercial and residential properties. During these mandated checks, county assessors review the sale prices and property characteristics of homes and small businesses to establish new valuations. The forthcoming reappraisal in Cuyahoga County, scheduled to take place from October 2, 2022, through April 30, 2024, will impact over 522,000 properties, reports Cleveland.com.

The county assessor’s office arrives at this number by researching official property records to tally the total number of residential/commercial parcels within Cuyahoga County’s boundaries. New valuations determined through the reappraisal will take effect for the 2023 tax year and remain in play until the next six-year reappraisal is due. This periodic reassessment allows the county to distribute property taxes equitably based on accurate, up-to-date property values. As a Cuyahoga County resident, this guide can help you understand what to expect and how you can prepare.

The Reappraisal Process: What Property Owners Can Expect

The Cuyahoga County property reappraisal process will involve teams of private sector appraisers and county employees reviewing each property. Reappraisals begin with county assessors inspecting properties to verify characteristics like living area size, number of bedrooms and bathrooms, and any renovations or upgrades.

Timeline and Methodology

Appointed appraisers will consider recent sale prices of comparable properties to determine current market values. Homeowners can expect a notice in the mail if assessors need to access the interior of their property. Once inspections are complete, assessors will analyze property characteristics and market trends to assign new valuations.

Once preliminary values are online, homeowners can review them and provide feedback before finalization. New property values aim to represent what the home could sell for in the current market. Increases in a home’s value do not necessarily mean taxes will rise by the same percentage. Homeowners have the chance to formally challenge the new valuation before the issuance of tax bills for the New Year if it seems off-market.

How Appraisers Can Help

Appraisers can provide documentation of any errors for assessors to review before determinations become final. Come January, homeowners will see the impacts of the new property values on their tax bills. Local governments and school districts set millage rates that, along with the home’s value, determine taxes. Property owners can ask their county auditor questions or concerns about the new amounts owed.

To ensure a smooth reappraisal process, homeowners should have records of all renovations or condition issues and consider hiring an appraiser to evaluate the home’s market value if disputing the new appraisal amount. Maintaining an accurate property profile helps ensure an equitable valuation.

Impact on Property Taxes

A property’s new appraised value affects the owed taxes, as they’re based on its proportion of the total taxable value within the area. The last reappraisal in 2021 saw an average property value increase of 16%, leading to higher tax bills for many owners as their properties made up a larger share of the taxed valuations.

Clarifying House Bill 920

If rising values continue, tax bills could increase even after applying Ohio’s tax reduction mechanisms. Fortunately, not all value increases translate to higher taxes, thanks to Ohio’s House Bill 920, which limits tax increases due to inflation. Passed in 1976, HB 920 caps annual tax increases on individual properties unless ownership changes; this provides stability for long-term owners.

However, this “safety net” may not fully offset higher taxes that result from substantial value increases over multiple reappraisal cycles. For example, a home that increased in value by 16% during the last reappraisal as values rose across the county could still see tax bills increase by more than 3% even with HB 920 caps.

What This Means to Business Owners

Business owners do not receive the same protections from HB 920 as residential owners. For them, large increases in the appraised value of commercial properties may translate directly into higher taxes each year—this cuts directly into profits.

With operating expenses also on the rise, marked property tax hikes could strain the finances of companies that own their facilities. Both homeowners and commercial property owners will want to carefully review the Final Tax Letters mailed by the county to understand how upcoming appraisal changes and tax rates will ultimately affect what they owe in 2024 and beyond.

Contesting Cuyahoga County Property Reappraisal Values

Property owners who disagree with their new appraised values have the right to an informal hearing with the Cuyahoga County Board of Revision. There are several reasons why this would happen. For starters, assessors could make mistakes when measuring a home or miss recent renovations that increased a property’s value.

During the Cuyahoga County property reappraisal, the comparison properties might not accurately reflect the specifics of the owner’s home. Market trends over the past six years in a neighborhood may have been volatile and not accurately captured. The assessor’s opinion of a property’s condition or quality could differ from the owner’s view.

Inspectors might overlook or misinterpret damage or structural issues found during their assessment. Simply put, appraisals, which involve human judgment, leave room for errors, so property owners have the right to contest values they feel are inaccurate. This is where assistance from the attorneys at Brenden Kelley Law comes in.

Importance of Legal Representation

It’s highly advisable for property owners contesting new appraised values to have qualified legal representation. A skilled real estate lawyer can review the appraisal details, identify any potential flaws in the assessment, and effectively argue the owner’s case before the Board of Revision.

It’s also not easy to navigate the legal process, let alone comprehend property assessment terminology. Representation from a law firm well-versed in property tax disputes greatly increases a homeowner’s or business owner’s chances of a successful appeal and a fairer valuation.

Preparing for a Board of Revision Hearing

The Cuyahoga County Board of Revision is the initial reviewing body that hears formal complaints and appeals from Ohio property owners regarding their newly appraised property values. It has the authority to determine whether the assessed valuations are equitable and make adjustments if evidence demonstrates errors in the appraisal.

Board Member Responsibilities

Board members are tasked with fairly evaluating the testimony and documentation presented by property owners and county assessors to decide whether the contested valuations should remain unchanged or be modified.

Appeals Process

The decisions of the Board of Revision may then be further appealed to the Ohio Board of Property Tax Appeals or the county Court of Common Pleas. To request a hearing, owners must submit an application for the review of real property value between 1st January and 31st March 2025. The application requests information about the property, including the owner’s rationale for disagreeing with the appraised value.

Evidence Consideration

Note that submissions received after the deadline may not be accepted for review in the current cycle. The Board of Revision, consisting of county employees, will consider evidence such as comparable sales, estimates for repairs or upgrades, and recent purchase amounts.

Prepare All Documentation

All evidence must be clearly presented and explained at the hearing to demonstrate why the appraisal is inaccurate. Owners and assessors will have a chance to discuss the evidence and reasoning before the Board. To prepare, one must consolidate documentation like appraisals, contractor bids, permits, and photographs.

While property owners can represent themselves at hearings, hiring an attorney familiar with property tax law gives petitioners a leg up during what can sometimes be a protracted process. An experienced real estate attorney can ensure all necessary documentation is prepared and submitted correctly. They can also present the owner’s case and address any counterarguments from the assessor with professional ease.

Board Decision

Finally, the Board issues decisions by March 31, and based on the evidence presented, decisions will notify owners if the value has been lowered, upheld, or raised. Any value adjustments will be reflected in tax bills for the following year, and owners dissatisfied with the decision can further appeal to the county or state boards.

Community Implications and Historical Context

Cuyahoga County experienced its largest property value increase in over 30 years at 16% in 2021. This impacted tax bills and the local housing market. Rising values benefit the county through increased tax revenue but can strain homeowners and small businesses.

The upcoming Cuyahoga County property reappraisal is likely to have wide-reaching economic and social consequences for the community while values and taxes adjust. Past reappraisals have driven renovation projects as owners sought to increase property values. They’ve also led to higher rents that have impacted tenants. Local leaders will monitor impacts on affordability, development, and whether certain areas see declining values.

Cuyahoga County Property Reappraisal: Let Brenden Kelley Law Be Your Expert Guide

The upcoming Cuyahoga County property reappraisal will undoubtedly result in changed property values and tax impacts for many residents and business owners. Given the magnitude of this county-wide reassessment and the potential for market fluctuations or appraisal errors, some property owners may disagree with their newly assigned values. Handling an appeal through the Board of Revision process is no easy feat without experience in property tax disputes. The attorneys at Brenden Kelley Law have extensive expertise advocating for residential and commercial clients contesting unwarranted reappraisals. Our representation will help ensure property owners receive a fair hearing if they believe errors were made in valuing their properties under the upcoming reassessment. Call us at 216-644-3359 today to schedule a consultation for a comprehensive case assessment.

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Explore our other Blog Posts for Property Owners: Navigating Unfavorable Property Tax Assessments: How to Appeal and Why You Need an Attorney

Additional Resources: Understanding Property Taxes in Ohio – This page from the Ohio Department of Taxation provides an in-depth look at how property taxes work in Ohio, including assessment processes and taxpayer rights. Board of Revision Filing Guide – Cuyahoga County’s official Board of Revision page offers a step-by-step guide on filing a property tax complaint, including deadlines and requirements.