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City to join lawsuit challenging rejection of appraisals during reassessment

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Wednesday, Jan. 23, 2013, 1:52 p.m.

Pittsburgh Controller Michael Lamb said he will appear in court Wednesday to join a lawsuit as a plaintiff on behalf of city residents who had certified real estate appraisals rejected by assessment appeals officers.

Various residents across Allegheny County on Jan. 7 sued the county and the Board of Property Assessment Appeals and Review, claiming that hearing officers improperly ignored solid evidence from homeowners appealing the property reassessments that the county performed last year. Specifically, the lawsuit alleges that certified appraisals that homeowners presented as evidence were not properly considered and that homeowners got no explanation why such evidence is not accepted.

“It is our sense that the board has arbitrarily rejected certified appraisals,” Lamb said in a prepared statement. “Unlike the property assessment process itself, the appraisals were completed by on the ground appraisers who did thorough appraisals of the properties.”

An attorney for the plaintiffs has said he wants the county to go back through its appeals and correct the cases in which he says the outcome is flawed because the appraisals weren‘t considered.

In February, the controller's office established a program offering free assessment appeal services to Pittsburgh homeowners whose property value is $150,000 or less. The program also offered discount property appraisal services.

City residents with a certified appraisal who feel that it was arbitrarily rejected by the review board can contact the controller's office for a review of their case, Lamb said. Call 412- 255-2054.

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