|Vacant house that was |
Last year the District of Columbia introduced legislation B20-0318 Senior Citizen Real Property Tax Relief Act of 2013. On the 7th of this year it got it's first vote/reading. Though the city can afford the loss of tax revenue however, the city's record with the plain old Senior Citizen Homestead Deduction has been poor in practice. My great aunt's house is an example of this. To the best of my knowledge the house is vacant but not blighted. Unfortunately, I've encountered a blatantly vacant house receiving the Senior Citizen Homestead Deduction that was endangering the surrounding houses. My concern is without the tax, seniors will either move or die, leaving properties to fall into disrepair, and damaging the neighborhood. Yes, there is language about qualifying and alerting the CFO (Chief Financial Officer) about periods when the owner no longer qualifies, but that is too dependent on the owner, the estate and survivors, who have zero incentive to pay up and will have less incentive to repair properties. The law is great for co-operatives and possibly condos, horrible for single family homes and townhouses.
This blog's interest is in vacant properties that are blights and harm the neighborhood. This is well meaning legislation, however, because of my observations with enforcement (or lack thereof) with the homestead exemptions (senior and non-senior) I see problems.