Corner Block Development LLC v. City of New Haven
A current owner may appeal the municipality's assessment of the fair market value of property, even if the current owner did not own the property on the date of assessment. The municipal assessor valued the fair market value of property located on Chapel Street in New Haven at $317,200, as of Oct. 1, 2011. The plaintiff's predecessor appealed to the Board of Assessment Appeals. The plaintiff became the owner and appealed to the Superior Court. The defendant municipality moved to dismiss and argued that the plaintiff lacked standing, because the plaintiff did not own the property as of the date of the assessment. The plaintiff, who did not become the owner until March 17, 2012, objected that as the successor owner, it is entitled to pursue the appeal. C.G.S. §12-117a provides, "Any person . . . claiming to be aggrieved by the action of the board of tax review or the board of assessment appeals . . . may . . . make application, in the nature of an appeal therefrom, with respect to the assessment list . . . to the superior court." The court found that the plaintiff was qualified to appeal, based on the statutory language. "[B]ased on the plain `any person' language of General Statutes §12-117a," wrote the court, "the plaintiff, as the current owner of the property obligated to pay the real estate taxes due, has alleged sufficient statutory aggrievement." It would lead to "absurd" results, added the court, if the plaintiff were deprived of the opportunity to appeal. The court denied the municipal defendant's motion to dismiss.