NYC property-tax system under fire as discrimination suit filed

Lawsuit poses first serious challenge to tax set-up in years

Feb.February 27, 2014 11:28 AM

A class-action lawsuit filed yesterday alleges that the city’s property-tax system discriminates against African-American and Hispanics who live in rental properties.

Those New Yorkers pay higher taxes — due to high rates on rental properties — than condominiums, co-ops and single-family homes that are largely owned by white and/or Asian people, the suit said. The suit claims the $20 billion, 33-year-old system is unconstitutional and violates the anti-discrimination provisions of the Federal Fair Housing Act. Hispanics and African-Americans jointly comprise more than half of all renters, but occupy roughly 32 percent of single-family homes, 27 percent co-ops and 20 percent of condos.

“For too long, this has been a reverse Robin Hood where the government has been taking from the poor to subsidize the rich,” Lucas Ferrara, an attorney with real estate law firm Newman Ferrara LLP representing the plaintiffs, told the Wall Street Journal.

The city and state declined to comment to the Journal until it reviews the suit. [WSJ]Mark Maurer

Related Articles

A photo illustration of Michael Gianaris and Jeff Bezos (Credit: Getty Images, Wikipedia, iStock)

Gianaris wants to reform NYC tax credit programs that drew Amazon

City Council Speaker Corey Johnson and Mayor Bill de Blasio (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

NYC’s convoluted property tax system could get a big reboot

State Sen. Julia Salazar and Assembly member Harvey Epstein proposed the tax this month in an effort to disincentivize real estate speculation (Credit: iStock, Getty Images)

Experts take issue with proposed tax on mezzanine loans

State Senator Julia Salazar and Assemblymember Harvey Epstein (Credit: Getty Images)

Pols take aim at private equity with plan to tax mezz debt

Donald Trump with Rep. Emanuel Cleaver II, Rep. Ron Kind and Sen. Cory Booker (Credit: Getty Images, iStock)

Trump’s Opportunity Zone program is under investigation

34-08 30th Street (Credit: Google Maps)

Lawsuit accuses Astoria landlord, super of turning away blacks

Staten Island City Councilman Joe Borelli and City Council Speaker Corey Johnson (Credit: Getty Images)

Gentrification tax? Pols pitch fix for “completely screwed” system

Rep. Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez and Governor Andrew Cuomo (Credit: Getty Images)

House votes to lift SALT deduction cap — but don’t celebrate