Lower your property taxes – file an appeal by April 1, 2013

The April 1 deadline to appeal your property tax assessment is approaching! If your home is worth less now than it was when you bought it, or if you live in a town that conducted recent revaluations, you may be paying more in property taxes than you should be. 

Every year, in either late January or early February, tax assessors are required to mail to each property owner in New Jersey an annual tax assessment notice. It’s typically printed on a small green card and it simply states your home’s assessed value for both the land and any improvements. The number on the green card is calculated as of October 1 of the pre-tax year. So, for example, the tax assessment date for 2013 is October 1, 2002.

It is not uncommon for a home to be over assessed and an over assessment can result in you paying higher property taxes than you should be.

If you want to know whether you might be able to lower your taxes by hiring me to file a tax appeal on your behalf, find your green card and call Didieo Law Firm, LLC today for a free consultation. If I decide you are a good candidate for an appeal and you engage me to represent you, there is no fee unless I get your assessment lowered.

Will I lose my home if I file for bankruptcy?

One of my client’s major concerns in a consumer bankruptcy is the thought of losing the family home. Although that is possible in some cases, loss of the home is not very common.
 
If the debtor in a Chapter 7 liquidation bankruptcy is behind on his or her mortgage payments, the home could be lost. In such cases, the mortgage lender usually asks the bankruptcy court for permission to institute foreclosure proceedings despite the pending bankruptcy. When a debtor is current on his or her mortgage payments, whether the debtor will lose his or her house depends on how much equity the debtor has in the property and whether that equity is exempt under state law or federal bankruptcy law. If the amount of the debts owed on the home is less than the home’s market value, the debtor could lose the house unless the applicable exemption entitles the debtor to retain most of the equity.

 In a Chapter 13 proceeding, however, even if the debtor is behind on mortgage payments, if the Chapter 13 plan includes paying back any missed mortgage payments and the mortgage is otherwise current, the debtor should not lose his or her home. If the debtor is current on his or her payments, the home will not be lost if the debtor continues to make payments when due. 
 
If the debtor is a renter rather than a homeowner, the law is complex and the advice of an attorney important. Under most circumstances, if the landlord wins the right to evict the debtor-tenant before the bankruptcy is filed, the automatic stay will not stop the eviction proceedings. An eviction may also survive the automatic stay if the tenant is endangering the property or using illegal substances on the premises. However, these provisions may apply differently to those with public-housing leases. 
 
Usually a residential lease can be “assumed” in bankruptcy and the debtor-tenant can continue to live there and pay rent according to the lease terms, but certain deadlines may have to be met for the lease not to be considered rejected.