Real estate taxes are one of the most common elements of operating expenses that the landlord passes on to tenants. However, did you know that you could be paying much more than your actual share of real estate taxes for the premises you leased? In our blog this week, we talk about four kinds of mistakes your landlord could be making as a result of which you may be ending up paying more than what you owe.
When the landlord levies property taxes on tenants as per their pro-rata share, they should also credit any tax refunds received to the tenants’ accounts accordingly. However, sometimes, landlords may fail to credit the tax refunds or make errors in refund pro-rata calculations that tenants need to watch out for.
Not pursuing tax certioraris
The landlord must assess the taxes levied upon them every year to ensure they are in accordance with the local real estate laws. Tax certiorari allows landlords to challenge the real estate tax amount levied upon them. However, many landlords may overlook this step as they know their tenants will share the tax load anyway as per the lease agreements.
Including personal taxes
Landlords may erroneously include their personal taxes such as the tax on personal property or tax on income from a rental property in the real estate tax calculations for the leased premises, thus passing it on to their tenants.
Tax professional’s fees
Your landlord may incorrectly bill you for the expenses they incur when they hire a tax professional to work out their real estate taxes. While, as a tenant, you may be obligated to pay your share of the real estate tax as stipulated in your lease, the clause most likely won’t cover tax professional’s fees, which means, sharing the fee as a part of the tax pass-throughs would be incorrect.
Tax pass-throughs are just one of the many items in operating expenses that need to be audited by tenants to ensure they are not being overcharged. A lease audit that covers all elements of CAM charges and operating expenses is a must on an annual basis to ensure you, as a tenant, don’t pay more than what’s due.
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