Hotel/Motel, Office and Selected Retail Property Assessments Should Be Reviewed

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While some business sectors have weathered the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic disruption remarkably well, others, including hotel/motel, specific retail, and office sectors, have been severely impacted.

According to CBRE, U.S. hotels suffered the worst annual occupancy level in 2020 since the Great Depression (1). Compounding a drop in tourist occupancy, business demand for hotel and motel use has continued to fall, with businesses cutting travel budgets and adjusting to computer-based video platforms, like Zoom, for meetings and conferences. Non-store/on-line retail sales were strong, but department store and clothing store sales fell dramatically (2). This decline has impacted brick and mortar retail landlords and landlords with small business tenants found many unable to pay full rents. In the office sector, the Fourth Quarter of 2020 was equally bleak, with nearly 30 million square feet of negative net absorption (3).

Landlords owning properties in these impacted sectors may find 2021 a particularly good year to consider challenging your property tax assessments.

In New York State, property tax assessments for a given year are based on the value as of July of the prior year, in this case 2020. Each year New York provides an opportunity to protest your tax assessment if you believe it is unfair. This year the deadline to file a tax grievance is May 25, 2021. Although this deadline was extended in some communities last year, it is not certain that extensions will be granted again for 2021.

Nolan Heller Kauffman LLP has been successful in obtaining reductions for a wide range of property owners, including shopping centers, smaller plazas, professional office buildings, hotel and motel properties, recreational property, multi-tenant mixed use properties, quick service restaurant, manufacturing and warehouse, and multi-family rental properties, and represents clients throughout Upstate New York, including the Albany-Capital Region, Catskills, Hudson Valley, and Warren, Clinton and Essex Counties.

Our attorneys stand ready to assist new and existing clients during these uncertain times. We are happy to provide an initial consultation, without a fee, to evaluate whether you may have a good case for a property assessment reduction. If you feel you have an assessment that is out of line with market values, please contact John Hartzell at Nolan Heller Kauffman LLP at (518) 432-3106, or

  1. CBRE U.S Hotel Figures Q4 2020.
  2. CBRE U.S. Retail Figures Q4 2020
  3. CBRE U.S. Office Figures Q4 2020