From the Forum – unresponsive neighbor landlord & homestead deduction

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unresponsive neighbor landlord & homestead deduction:

The house next door is a rental (has been for atleast 4 years) and has issues that are impacting our house. We have tried contacting the owner but she is unresponsive to our request to make the repairs. Additionally, I just looked the house up and she is getting the homestead credit. What recourse do we have to get her to make the repairs? Our next step is a certified letter.

17 Comment

  • On the homestead deduction, write to the DC Tax office:

    Carl Piggott, Homestead Audit Unit, Office of Tax and Revenue, Government of the District of Columbia, Ste 750W, 1101 4th Street, SW, Washington DC 20024

    You can also check on whether there’s a valid business license at . That’s an issue to DCRA, but you have to keep on them by e-mail and phone to implement action.

  • What does the homestead deduction have to do with it?

    • The homestead deduction is leverage. “Fix your house or I’m going to report the shit out of you.”

    • you can’t recieve the homestead tax deduction unless the home is your primary residence

      • Oh wow, I didn’t know that. What if you have to leave and rent it out for a couple years and then come back? Can it be reinstated or is it gone forever?

        • The ~$60K knocked off your assessment can be reinstated. But the homestead effect of slowing down your rate of property tax increase can’t be undone. (For example, if your house was assessed at 100K when you bought it, while you’re living there your tax bill will never go up more than 10%/year, even if the assessment triples. But if you leave & come back, you’ll be paying tax on the $300K assessment, not the $100K plus annual 10% increases.)

  • Some rather large details left out. What are the repairs needed and how exactly are they affecting you? Is it a danger? Is it causing damage to your property? Is it just unsightly?

    And knowing the neighbor’s Homestead Exemption status will help you in what way? So if they don’t do what you want you’ll tattle on them? That will only ensure you will never get your way or any future cooperation.

    Call DCRA and see if a building inspector can be sent to YOUR property, if there is a tangible issue impacting your property. If there is some violation, they can cite the owner and require necessary repairs.

    And then forget about the Homestead Exemption, it will help you in absolutely no positive way.

    • novadancer

      holes in roof near the property line. She was giddy when she thought the leaks in their house were due to a missing drainspout on our house (which we replaced as soon as we were alerted!). However, once it was evident that the issues are hers it’s been total silence. The holes are next to the property line and we have massive amounts of moisture in that area in our bedroom.

      • Yeah, that stinks. If it’s a rental, it may be under some property management. If so, find out who that is and call them. You will find a PM can be more cooperative than the owner. A good ally because they know the shoe will one day be on the other foot.

        If not under management, have a roofer (or two) visit for an estimate. It will help knowing how large the issue may be. Providing estimates that back your assertion and give a price to fix will give you a stronger position. It may also turn out it’s a small fix, the owner may be more cooperative if they know you aren’t asking for a blank check.

        A kindly-worded letter, backed with estimates and a reminder of your speedy cooperation the last shared concern should be more productive than a veil threat to report the Homestead status. I’d even offer to share the expense. At the end of the day, it’s about getting what you want. A carrot works better than the stick with most neighbors.

    • Some of us play by the rules, actually live in the houses we’re getting that homestead deduction for, keep up our property and do our damnedest to be good neighbors. So yes, it does piss us off when some of our neighbors aren’t so considerate and this is exactly the kind of thing the homestead deduction is supposed to discourage. Why should we protect people who apparently have no concern for the law and clearly little or none for their neighbors?

  • I don’t see the Homestead Deduction directly helping you. I assume it’s more about screwing them. If that makes you feel better then go for it. They should be following the rules and paying their fair share. Losing the tax deduction will hurt them but if they’re claiming the deduction then they also probably didn’t register as a landlord. If they didn’t then they are going to have to jump through a lot of hoops to make it legal and may be required to pay back all the rent that they collected from the tenant. That could put them in serious financial trouble and may encourage them to sell the home.

  • I had this issue with an absentee owner (problems with their roof was causing problems with mine) and when I discovered the homestead thing, I reported them to the tax folks. It took some time and lots of calls, but eventually they lost the house (no tenants, was vacant). That wasn’t my goal but the new owner came in and made repairs and the house is no longer a nuisance so it was a win-win.

  • Let the tenants know: if the landlord doesn’t have a business license, the landlords has no rights: can’t collect rent, and will lose any confrontations in court.

  • Thanks for all the good info!

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