Some Chicago homeowners seeing big increase in property tax assessments

Sarah Schulte Image
Monday, May 21, 2018
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Some Cook County homeowners are getting their assessments in the mail and finding that they will be in for big increases on their next tax bill.

CHICAGO (WLS) -- Some Cook County homeowners are getting their assessments in the mail and finding that they will be in for big increases on their next tax bill.

The County Assessor's office defended the increases Monday.

Some of the increases are as high as 50 percent. Cook County residential properties are reassessed every three years. This year, Chicago residents are getting their reassessment notices based on 2015, 2016 and 2017 home sales in their neighborhoods.

The Assessor's office say property values have gone up, especially on the North Side.

When Maribel Selva moved into her North Side home 28 years ago, her property taxes were $1,500 a year. With a gradual increase of property values in Selva's North Center neighborhood, she is now paying close to $10,000 and that number is about to skyrocket. The Cook County Assessor has increased Selva's assessments by 38.8 percent.

"I'm angry, I feel blindsided because even though they said it was going to increase, that is a huge number!" said Selva.

Cook County reassesses properties triennially. This year, Chicago residents are receiving their notices. The city is divided up in eight different taxing townships. So far, notices have been sent to residents in the Lakeview and Rogers Park townships on the North Side.

Margot Wang lives in a one bedroom condo in Uptown; her assessments increased by 50 percent.

"It's a huge increase I don't think I can catch up with," Wang said.

The average increase in Lakeview is 32 percent. Former candidate for Cook County Assessor Andrea Railia is calling for 15 percent cap on triennial reassessments.

"If we don't cap triennial reassessments, we are going to be in a real problem with seniors who cannot hang on to their homes," said Andrea Raila, President of TRAEN Inc.

The skyrocketing reassessments come just months after Cook County Assessor Joe Berrios was accused of over-assessing lower valued homes while under-assessing more expensive properties on the North Side. Assessments are based on the previous three years of sales for similar homes in a neighborhood. On Monday, Berrios' office defended the increase.

"If you look at the property value in these townships, they have gone up substantially in the last three years and in the last six years," said Tom Shaer, Cook County Assessor's Office Spokesman.

The Assessor's office says it is using a new improved model to reassess properties, one that reduces regression.

If you believe your property is over-assessed, Joe Berrios' offices encourages homeowners to appeal. The new assessment will be reflected on the second-installment tax bills to be mailed in the summer of 2019.