Volume 2 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 61
Aged exemption (ownership requirement) (appropriation for public purpose) - Real Property Tax Law, § 467(3)(b):
Where property is appropriated for a public purpose, and the owner is otherwise qualified for exemption, it is not necessary that a replacement residence be acquired within a specified period of time nor within the same assessing unit.
Our opinion has been requested concerning the length of ownership requirement of section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law which authorizes a partial tax exemption on real property owned by certain aged persons.
The question is whether an otherwise qualified person may be eligible for this exemption on property acquired to replace a residence, owned by the same party for more than five years, which was appropriated for a public purpose more than one year before the purchase of the replacement property.
Section 467, subdivision 3(b) provides, in part, that no exemption shall be granted:
“(b) unless the title of the property shall have been vested in the owner or all of the owners of the property for at least sixty consecutive months prior to the date of making application for exemption, provided * * * that where property of the owner or owners has been acquired to replace property formerly owned by such owner or owners and taken by eminent domain or other involuntary proceeding, except a tax sale, * * * the period of ownership of the former property shall be combined with the period of ownership of the property for which application is made for exemption and such periods of ownership shall be deemed to be consecutive for purposes of this section.”
Accordingly, if an otherwise qualified aged person owned a residence which was appropriated for a public purpose and such person acquires a replacement residence, the period of ownership of the replacement residence may be combined with the period of ownership of the appropriated residence for purposes of meeting the sixty-month ownership requirement. Under such circumstances, a replacement residence need not necessarily be acquired in the same assessing unit, nor is there a time limitation within which an applicant must acquire a replacement residence.
In situations where an applicant wishes to combine the time of ownership of a replacement residence with that of property formerly owned, it must be established whether the former property was voluntarily disposed of, or whether the applicant was forced to vacate the former property because such property has been appropriated for a public purpose.
Pursuant to provisions contained in subdivision 3(b), not quoted above, when an otherwise qualified property owner voluntarily sells his home and purchases another, the period of ownership of both parcels may be combined for purposes of computing the required five-year period of ownership provided that the second home was purchased within one year from the sale of the first home and such new home is situated in the same assessing unit. The provisions of subdivision 3(b) concerning property which had been appropriated for a public purpose do not require that a replacement residence be acquired within a specified period of time, nor that a replacement residence must be acquired in the same assessing unit.
April 13, 1972