Volume 2 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 1
Board of assessment review (real estate broker as member) - Real Property Tax Law, § 1524:
The mere fact that a person is actively engaged in the real estate business does not disqualify him from appointment to the board of assessment review.
Our opinion has been requested as to whether a person actively engaged in business as a real estate broker may be appointed to a board of assessment review pursuant to section 1524 of the Real Property Tax Law.
Section 1524 specifically requires that persons appointed by the legislative body of a local government to the board of assessment review have a knowledge of property values in the local jurisdiction. In most instances, a real estate broker would certainly meet this requirement. It has been and continues to be the opinion of this office that there is no incompatibility arising from the appointment of one real estate broker to a three member or assessment review.
The obvious intent of section 1524 is to provide property owners with an opportunity to obtain an independent review of their assessments by a body which did not participate in the assessment in the first instance and which consists of members knowledgeable in real property values. However, care should be taken with respect to the overall balance in the composition of the board of assessment review.
It is difficult without a great deal of qualification, to generalize as to the composition of a board of assessment review. For example, attorneys, insurance agents, real estate brokers, financing executives, building tradesmen and materialmen, etc. would all be persons who would have knowledge of property values in their local jurisdiction.
However, an attorney who represents, or whose firm represents, clients in judicial proceedings to review real property assessments should not be appointed to a board of assessment review, although he otherwise qualifies. Likewise, a board should not consist of an attorney, a real estate broker and a developer who have had or are likely to have close professional relationships involving the sale and purchase of real property.
Accordingly, it is the opinion of this office that the mere fact that a person is actively engaged in the real estate business does not disqualify him from appointment to the board of assessment review. Of course, he should disqualify himself from considering a complaint on the assessment of property in which he is personally involved. This would apply as well to any member of the board of assessment review.
May 12, 1972