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J-51 Eligibility Expanded

In late December 2017, the New York City Council passed a bill that expands co-op and condo owners’ eligibility for J-51 – a property tax exemption and abatement program for renovations to residential apartment buildings. The benefits vary depending on the building’s location and the type of improvements.

The new law raises the eligibility cap on the assessed value of the unit being renovated from $30,000 to $32,000. It will allow the cap to rise, based on annual cost-of-living increases, to a maximum of $35,000. (When the tax break was introduced in 1992, the cap was $40,000; in 2013, the state reduced it to $30,000.) “While [co-op and condo residents’] taxes are still too high, raising the J-51 eligibility level is a step in the right direction and will help co-ops and condos across the city to maintain their properties in a state of good repair,” says council member Barry Grodenchik, a Queens Democrat, one of the sponsors of the legislation.Co-op and condo boards support the measure. Bob Friedrich, president of Glen Oaks Village, a 2,904-unit Queens co-op, said in a statement, “Without the current J-51 tax exemptions and abatements that Glen Oaks Village currently receives, each household would be paying almost $2,000 more per year in maintenance,” Although the bill was passed in December, the effects will be retroactively applied as far back as July 1, 2017, the beginning of the city’s current tax year.

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