How do I dispute a bill for a 2007 LAHD registration - even though it was fully "owner occupied"?

Asked by Freestyle88, 90019 Tue Nov 2, 2010

LAHD registered my duplex in 2007 when I purchased the property without my knowledge. I never received a letter from them - until I recently received a past due notice. I sent them a letter with copies of utility bills proving that the duplex was "owner occupied" but they claimed that the units must be "exempted" in that calendar year. What are the rules with LAHD regarding recently purchased "owner occupied" units? Can LAHD automatically register a recently purchased property even though it was "owner occupied" both before and after the purchase (the previous owners lived in both units for many years)?

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5
Kathleen Bec…, Agent, Santa Monica, CA
Fri Apr 22, 2011
Unfortunately, LAHD does require the new owner to register or exempt the units in the year that it is purchased. As Ron stated below, your best bet is to pay the fee and then appeal it.

The property, once it's registered, stays in the LAHD system. They continue to assess and collect registration fees until they are notified otherwise.

You may want to go back to 2006 records to see what how was registered then. Did you purchase the property vacant? Were there tenants occupying the units before you purchased it or was it owner occupied then? That may be a start.

Keep track of the dates and names of whom you speak to at LAHD. They can be difficult to deal with at times, however, you may find that "jewel" of a person who will advise you of the process.

Good luck and all the best,
Kat Becker
Prudential California Realty
katbecker@prula.com
0 votes
Ron Escobar -…, Agent, Beverly Hills, CA
Sat Jan 15, 2011
I have had to fix issues like this often.. their standard answer is.. "pay the fee and then file an appeal form, but you have to pay the fee first"...

I have done that... then filed an appeal... then never heard from them.. then followed up... then sent another letter... (you get the picture... head ache)... is best to think of it as a cost of doing business... unless you like the challenge to take on a bureaucracy...

Best of luck!.

Ron Escobar, MBA
Broker
0 votes
Cricket Yee, Agent, Sherman Oaks, CA
Wed Nov 3, 2010
Yeah, sorry Freestyle, it's the law that you have to register the units whether you are aware of the rule or not. How they track it, I'm not sure, but I do know they have lists and they inspect properties every two years or so-- ready or not. I think they skip inspections if it's owner-occupied. Just explain your situation to them and hopefully they will be sympathetic and waive the fees for you. With the city, you have no option but to cooperate.
0 votes
Rachel Dang, , Los Angeles, CA
Wed Nov 3, 2010
Yes you should have filed it "exempt" property (only if it's not rental but owner occupied) as soon as you purchased but there is a way to fix it. I have a client who has a similar situation. I contacted LAHD for him and explained he never received any letter from them and it was an owner occupied property. They waived the fee for him. Please contact the number on the past due notice. They may waive it for you, although it's up to them how far they would go back to make the change but it's worth the shot.

FYI, this has to be claimed every year. They will send you a letter by Dec or Jan. If you haven't received by Jan, please contact them.
0 votes
Deborah Brem…, Agent, Los Angeles, CA
Wed Nov 3, 2010
Was it a foreclosure property? (i.e. the bank was the "owner" for a period of time?) If so, you may have missed the deadline to file. Just register now, but understand that with the budget crisis, all government entities are looking for any cash that has been slipping through the cracks.
Deborah Bremner
The Bremner Group at Coldwell Banker
REALTOR, 00588885, ABR, CDPE, eAgent, CSP, SFR, HRC, CRE
(O) 310-571-1364 DIRECT
(D) 818.564.6591
http://www.thebremnergroup.com/news/
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