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LOS ANGELES COUNTY : Suit Seeks Lower Tax on Homes Declining in Value

Metropolitan Digest / LOS ANGELES COUNTY NEWS IN BRIEF

March 12, 1992

Contending that property taxes should reflect the current real estate slump, a group of property owners filed suit Wednesday in Los Angeles Superior Court to force the county tax assessor to adjust assessments of homes that have declined in value.

Five homeowners and real estate partnerships, represented by former county Assessor Alexander Pope, contend that Assessor Kenneth P. Hahn and the State Board of Equalization have not followed the mechanisms set up after Proposition 13 to lower assessments when there is a drop in the market values of homes.

Hahn he said he is willing to consider making lower assessments if property owners apply for them. "I don't have the staff to review" every property, he said.

Under Proposition 13, taxes on property bought after 1978 is based on the purchase price. Unlike a lawsuit now before the U.S Supreme Court contending that new home buyers are unfairly forced to pay more property taxes than longtime owners of similar homes, the latest one argues homeowners are being deprived of existing legal mechanisms allowing them to pay less.

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