Class Action Suit Slams City’s Property Tax System as Discriminating Against Renting Blacks, Hispanics

Corinne Lestch, NY Daily News, February 27, 2014

The city’s property tax system has long been criticized for favoring homeowners over renters, but a bombshell lawsuit filed Wednesday charges that it discriminates against blacks and Hispanics as well.

The allegation, if upheld, could force a radical overhaul in how property taxes are levied—potentially forcing homeowners to pay billions of dollars more each year.

“The state would have to alter the property tax system to address the disparities, which would change the distributions of property tax burdens,” said Doug Turetsky of the Independent Budget Office.

The class action lawsuit seizes on a long-documented imbalance: one-, two- and three-family homes account for 48% of the market value of all city property, yet generate 15.5% of property tax revenues.

Conversely, apartment buildings account for 23% of total market value, but pay 37% of all property taxes. When abatements for condo- and co-op owners are factored in, the share of taxes paid by rental apartment buildings is even greater.

The imbalance is deliberate, part of a decades-long effort by state lawmakers and City Council members to keep the city’s residential homeowners—at one point, considered the middle class—from leaving the city.

But the lawsuit says the imbalance amounts to discrimination, because homeowners are disproportionately white or Asian, while renters are disproportionately black or Hispanic, compared to the city’s population.


However, shifting the tax burden away from rental buildings likely would trigger a political uproar by homeowners whose tax bills would soar.

The de Blasio adminisration said it would review the lawsuit.



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  • Puggg

    I bet the blacks and hispanics are just the faces of the lawsuit, and that the legal fees are being funded by the owners of apartment buildings who are fishing for lower real estate taxes. You can bet those that actually rent won’t get a reduction in their rent.

    • APaige

      You are right the apartment owners want to pay less taxes and that does not equal lower rent. Also rent control keeps people from paying their fair share of the market value.

    • TheAntidote

      What brittle cynicism……and truth.

  • Alexandra1973

    Oh here we go again…”disparate impact.”

    I’ve rented for over 20 years (not the same place). I don’t have to mow the lawn, I don’t have to worry about maintenance…what’re they griping about again?

    • dmxinc

      You’ve been smarter than I have for the past 20 years.

      • Alexandra1973

        My husband has pointed out that if you buy a house, even if you do manage to pay it off, when you go into the nursing home, it has to get sold off before you get any benefits. All that money gone, for what? At least when you rent, you have nothing that can be taken.

        • I bought my house at age 30, and paid off the mortgage at age 38. I won’t go to a nursing home someday. I can’t have guns, but there’s always rope. The basement has a drain in the concrete floor, so if I make a bit of a mess, it would be easy to clean.

          • soul hunter

            Heck with it . . . torch it and roast marshmallows . . .

    • GeneticsareDestiny

      Blacks think taxes are something only whitey should have to pay, so having to pay any taxes makes them very angry.

      • Alexandra1973

        You know…what if we had to pay a tax based on IQ? The lower your IQ, the more you pay.

        Imagine the chimp-outs!

        • antiquesunlight

          That would drive the Mexicans out pretty fast, if it were enforced.

          • Alexandra1973

            Nah, they’d probably hold a rally at the White House or something.

  • Robert Kelley

    I think that Henry George had a good idea in pushing land value taxation, in which only the speculative value of raw land is taxed rather than improvements. It would be a win for both owners and renters.

    • Pro_Whitey

      Not that I own any farmland, but I think I would like an exception for farmland (there would have to be some kind of easement on it limiting its use to farmland) so farmers don’t have to sell or get killed by taxes due to a speculative bubble.

  • So CAL Snowman

    “But the lawsuit says the imbalance amounts to discrimination, because
    homeowners are disproportionately white or Asian, while renters are
    disproportionately black or Hispanic, compared to the city’s population.”

    So in other words the “discrimination” is self inflicted because hispanics and blacks are unable to excel like the Asians and Whites. They just cannot admit that for mother nature “discrimination” begins at conception.

  • Spartacus

    “However, shifting the tax burden away from rental buildings likely would
    trigger a political uproar by homeowners whose tax bills would soar. ”


    Good. The worse things are, the better .

    • slash345

      Oh things are getting worse you can believe that.

  • Another move to punish responsible behavior (white behavior) and reward irresponbibility (black behavior). I think the lawsuit revolves around the “homestead exemption,” which was intended to reward responsible behavior. There is also mortgage interest deduction on the federal tax return that could be targeted by lawsuit using the same reasoning.

    The parasites are always thinking up new ways to bleed the white race dry and unfortunately there are judges willing to go along with it. We need a new country–100 percent white.

  • Einsatzgrenadier

    Blacks and hispanics can’t take responsibility for their actions because doing so would force them to admit their own intellectual and biological inferiority.

  • Diana Moon Glampers

    As soon as they remedy the obvious discrimination, a new lawsuit will be filed claiming that the new higher property taxes have a disparate impact on blacks and Hispanics because they cannot afford them and the evil whites are trying to deny them homeownership.

    • MBlanc46

      Correct. Everything discriminates against blacks and Hispanics one way or another.

  • MBlanc46

    Good. Drive homeowners out of NYC. That will really help the blacks and Hispanics.

  • borogirl54

    I always thought that NYC had rent control so that the rents could only go up so much per year.

  • How many blacks and hispanics are real renters and not section 8 moochers? It all comes down to living in the ghetto in Bronx.

  • NoMosqueHere

    Hopefully, the judge will dismiss the lawsuit in motion practice. A negative case for disparate impact analysis is needed; these highly controversial facts may provide for one. I wonder who the judge is.

  • dd121

    The libs just keep finding new and creative ways of tearing the fabric of society. They’ve pretty much destroyed California. I guess de Blasio and the boys will destroy most of NY City during his tenure.

  • Truth Teller

    Puggg is right. Every black and brown lawsuit and movement has something behind it

  • Romulus

    Wealth redistribution by the commies, pure and simple. Combined with BHO’s effort to elevate the underclasses, reward illegal border jumpers, cater to black males and demographic decline, it’s just another way that we’ll be paying for our own replacement.

  • WR_the_realist

    New York City has an income tax in addition to the state and federal income taxes. But apparently the geniuses on the left have decided that homeowners don’t have enough reasons yet to flee the city.

    Don’t forget that the reason apartment buildings are valued so low relative to one, two, and three family homes is because decades of rent control have depressed the value of the apartment buildings. So the artificially high property taxes paid by renters are more than compensated for by the artificially low rents.

    In any case it is amazing what qualifies as “racial discrimination” these days. Tax or welfare policies that hurt whites are not discrimination, but tax or welfare policies that hurt the precious blacks and Latinos are discrimination.

  • Lt_Greyman_NVA

    Liberals are stuck on this on. If they back the lawsuit, the city will go the way of Detroit. White Wealthy have been leaving NYC for years and this would be the real “last nail in the coffin” moment.

    But if they don’t back this lawsuit, then they are against the po’po’ blacks and Hispanics. The Fed will always go to backing the negro over Whites. Holder is probably sending a team down there as we speak. Further, NYC needs the property tax revenue to bolster its pensions and its Liberal agenda.

    “O my ducats! O my daughter”

  • soul hunter

    I guess Blacks and Hispanics need to ante up

  • Rusty Shackelford

    A decent amount of NYC apartments have rent control…therefore, the landlords, not the renters, are the ones bearing the brunt of the property tax expense associated with the apartment buildings, especially if the annual increase outstrips the landlord’s ability to raise rents. Somebody should tell these people what their rent would be if rent controls were to go away…they might just shut up…but probably not. What will happen, of course, is the homeowners will get shafted in the end, they will sell, the blacks will move in, and then complain about how racist the high property taxes are.