On May 8, 2018, the Court of Appeals granted leave to appeal the decision of the Appellate Division, Second Department in Matter of Larchmont Pancake House v Board of Assessors, 153 AD3d 521 (2d Dept 2017).
The decision caused a great deal of concern to the Tax Certiorari Bar. Briefly stated, the Second Department held that while a tenant is an aggrieved party within the meaning of the RPTL because assessments have a direct effect on its pecuniary interests, Article 5 of the RPTL requires that the property owner file the complaint or grievance to obtain administrative review of a tax assessment. Since the Pancake House was not the owner, it failed to satisfy a condition precedent to filing the petitions and the Court lacked jurisdiction.
This upset long-standing practice where landlords allow tenants who are responsible for the payment of taxes to protest same. The determination would require some obligation in the lease requiring a landlord to file a challenge upon demand, or provide clear authority to the tenant to do so.
The Court of Appeals will hopefully correct the situation probably by providing a broader definition of an aggrieved person.