Caviness v. City of Norwalk
A court can find that a municipal appraiser failed to consider the condition of the property, which required maintenance and repairs, when the appraiser assessed the fair market value. The City of Norwalk assessed the fair market value of the plaintiff's property at $1.83 million, as of Oct. 1, 2008, and the plaintiff appealed. The plaintiff's property is .48 acres and has a 4,756 square foot residence with five bedrooms, four bathrooms, a swimming pool and a wood deck. The plaintiff's appraiser, Michael McGuire, testified that the fair market value was $1.2 million. McGuire concluded that the interior of the subject property required repairs and replacements, and he deducted approximately $150,000 from the values of property that he considered to be comparable at the time of sale. The plaintiff's appraiser also found that the location of the subject property was inferior to that of properties that were comparable at the time of sale. The municipal appraiser, Michael Fazio, opined that the fair market value was $1.77 million. Fazio did not make any deductions for design, quality of construction or condition of the interior. The court praised Michael Fazio's approach and found that Fazio should have deducted $150,000, because the interior of the residence required maintenance and repairs. Fazio also described the property as significantly larger than 4,756 square feet. The court rejected the plaintiff's claim that the location of the subject property, which was located about one mile from the train station and more than one mile from Long Island Sound, was inferior to that of properties that were found comparable at the time of sale. The fair market value of the plaintiff's property was $1.55 million, as of Oct. 1, 2008, and the court granted judgment to the plaintiff.