Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD) is over-taxing flooded property owners by 50 to 100%.

tax law

HCAD is NOT valuing these flooded properties accurately.

They are not following mandatory requirements of the Tax Code and the Texas Department of Licensing and Regulation.

HCAD and the Appraisal Review Board (ARB) are not considering market evidence in valuing flooded homes, grossly overtaxing Texans at their time of greatest need. 

Both HCAD and the ARB are overtly ignoring the law.  HCAD appraisers are testifying that the HCAD has not developed an opinion of market value.  Despite evidence from the HCAD appraiser that their valuation does not meet basic requirements, ARB panels are ratifying the HCAD value in a breath-taking display of raw power and force.

The appraisal district and the ARB appear to be ignoring all evidence at hearings.  In our opinion, it is clear the process is a sham after 1 or 2 hearings.

The ARB has also imposed a rule they will not consider any evidence of market value unless the property owner provides bids of repair costs.

This requirement violates the law and is denying owners of flooded properties a fair hearing.

Over the past 2 days, Patrick O’Connor, President of O’Connor, attended the HCAD disaster reappraisals on behalf of some of our clients alongside our team of tax agents. He was there to testify as an appraiser as well as act as an agent. We filmed at least 15 hearings believing upfront (and as it turned out, correctly) that HCAD would not act according to the law.  The recording of one of the hearings is available for you here.

Ten plus O’Connor team members have attended the disaster reappraisal hearings, and to a person, each is stunned HCAD and the ARB are so boldly ignoring the law, and over-taxing flooded property owners by 50 to 100%.  If HCAD were a private business, this would be price gouging.

For your reference, Texas Tax Code Sec. 23.02.  REAPPRAISAL OF PROPERTY DAMAGED IN DISASTER AREA. (a) The governing body of a taxing unit that is located partly or entirely inside an area declared to be a disaster area by the governor may authorize reappraisal of all property damaged in the disaster at its market value immediately after the disaster.

Pay also special attention to Sections 23.01 APPRAISALS GENERALLY; Sec. 23.0101. CONSIDERATION OF ALTERNATE APPRAISAL METHODS; and Sec. 23.001 COST METHOD OF APPRAISAL.

HCAD’s position is to take the property value as of January 1, 2017 less the costs to repair. They are not using a recognized method to value flooded properties.

Tax Code Sec. 23.001 COST METHOD OF APPRAISAL,  requires the appraisal district (CAD) shall (emphasis added) make any appropriate adjustment for physical, functional, or economic obsolescence. Economic obsolescence occurs when the value of a property decreases due to external factors in the neighborhood or immediate area.

Wouldn’t you consider the flooding of thousands of homes and parts of town to be economic obsolescence?

The comparable sales of flooded properties in those areas certainly support economic obsolescence, yet HCAD is absolutely ignoring that factor.

Comment below and let us know what you think. Are you as outraged as we are?