May 30, 2012 Memo from: Tuchman, Korngold, Weiss, Lippman and Gelles, LLP
As you are probably aware, real estate taxes on cooperatives and condominiums have dramatically escalated over the past few years. In many cases, real estate taxes are the largest single item in a building’s annual budget. In what can only be described as an attempt to wring out the last penny from cooperatives and condominiums, the City of New York it attempting to ban cooperatives and condominiums from obtaining J-51 tax benefits. The J-51 program has been in existence since the 1950’s as an incentive to building owners to upgrade and maintain their systems and to convert unnecessary excess commercial space to residential use. In the 1980’s, the New York State Legislature recognized the importance of maintaining cooperatives and condominiums and thus expanded the program to allow all new cooperatives and condominiums as well as existing middle income cooperatives and condominiums to obtain the tax benefits of J-51 for maintaining their building systems.
The J-51 program expired last year and representations were made that the City would retroactively extend the program. In a complete about-face the city administration is attempting to radically change the J-51 law so that there will no longer be an opportvnity for cooperatives and condominiums to obtain these benefits (see attached memorandum of pending legislative intent.) This attempt to eliminate these buildings from getting J-51 tax benefits for maintaining their buildings can only be described as another attempt to wring additional tax dollars from owners of cooperatives and condominiums. While owners of private homes maintain their huge tax breaks, the city administration is turning their backs on thousands of cooperative and condominium dwellers. We are urging all of our clients, friends and colleagues to reach out to their elected representatives in the New York State Legislature and urge them to enact a law that retroactively extends J-51 benefits for cooperatives and condominiums. Even if your building does not qualify under the existing J-51 guidelines, we urge you to join this effort to prevent further increases in real estate taxes.
Time is short. The New York State Legislature will be taking up this matter in the’ next few weeks. Please contact your local State Assemblyman or State Senator today or it will be too late.