Renters sue, allege property tax system violates Fair Housing Act

A property tax system in which one- to three-family homes pay a lower effective tax rate than apartment buildings violates the Fair Housing Act, alleges a lawsuit filed by two New York City renters.

The plaintiffs, Rosa Rodriguez and Ernest Robinson, argue that the way the city’s property tax system treats rental properties is discriminatory because renters in larger apartment buildings are more likely to be black and Hispanic and live in poverty compared to the owners of condos and co-ops.

New York City’s complex method for assessing taxes also tends to undervalue condos and co-ops compared to rentals, and that often results in rental properties shouldering a bigger share of the tax burden, WNYC reported.

Although tenants don’t pay property taxes directly, real estate analysts estimate a portion of their rent pays the building’s taxes, the news outlet said.