Why landlords hate Philly’s property tax overhaul

If you’re a landlord in Philadelphia, you’re watching City Council’s property tax acrobatics very closely. Council is proposing to exempt the first $30,000 of home value from taxes and cap how much tax bills can grow right away.  But those exemptions wouldn’t go to rental properties, and landlords are upset.

You could even say rental properties will pay for the exemptions for everyone else. The city would presumably set the overall rates a little lower if it didn’t give any discounts. Now the city will have to ask for a little more to raise a hoped-for $94 million from the tax rejiggering.John Belisonzi rents out 10 residential properties. He told City Council last week that the increase on the table could cost him an additional $4,000 a month.”I am a small, mom and pop landlord,” said Belisonzi. “There’s no way I can recoup that $4,000. I have good tenants. I have a quality product. I can get maybe 10 percent rent increases, but I’m not going to get anywhere near that amount looming out there.”The president of HAPCO, a landlord group, says many would face the same problems. Victor Pinckney says he thinks the homestead exemptions will pass too much of the burden onto landlords and tenants.”Even though, as a homeowner, it benefits me, but overall I think it’s going to cause more of a problem [than] it’s helping,” said Pinckney.Pinckney says low and middle income tenants will have trouble paying higher rents, including some tenants already spending 50 percent or more of their income on housing.

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