By Crusader Staff Reporter
The COVID-19 pandemic is affecting every walk of life—both globally and within the United States. As a result, in Cook County, lives have been lost and families have been gravely affected, not only by the pain associated with losing a loved one, but on the economic front.
Thousands of Chicago area residents are no longer able to provide for their families. Shelter-at-home orders have forced people to miss work, with many not able to reach into savings to pay bills and others have been forced to apply for unemployment benefits.
To help ease current financial burdens and those that may arise later, property owners in the Chicago area in Cook County will be pleased to learn that the Cook County Assessor’s Office has recently announced updated information concerning the office’s scheduled plan to reassess the southern and western suburbs of Chicago.
This plan would not only reassess property values in the southern and western suburbs, as scheduled, but would also adjust property values in these areas, as well as in the northern suburbs and Chicago if the aftermath of the COVID-19 pandemic has a significant impact on real estate values.
“This is an unprecedented crisis and we’re taking necessary steps to address it,” said Cook County Assessor Fritz Kaegi.
“In view of the state and federal governments’ declaration of Illinois and Cook County as major disaster areas, and the pandemic’s toll on markets and property values, we are adjusting assessments to reflect this reality. To do so for only one portion of the county would unfairly shift the tax burden and create an inequitable system.”
Cook County is reassessed triennially, which means one-third of the county is reassessed each year. In 2020, the south and west townships of Chicago are scheduled to be reassessed, and this work will continue. While properties in some south suburban townships have already received reassessment notices, those which have not will receive notices that reflect estimated economic effects of COVID-19 on property values.
To make assessments equitable across the board for all Cook County property owners, north suburban and Chicago portions of Cook County, which are not scheduled for reassessment, as well as properties located in south and west suburban townships which have already received reassessment notices, will have their property values reviewed for estimated effects of COVID-19 following the appeal process. Property owners are not required to appeal in order to receive the COVID-19 review and adjustment for eligible properties this will be done automatically by the Assessor’s Office.
The Assessor’s Office has provided a summary of changes to both the reassessment, review and appeal processes, which is listed below. “We know property values were affected by the events of 9/11 and the 2008 housing crisis,” said Assessor Kaegi.
“We’re already seeing the effects of this global health crisis on hiring, income, and construction – all of which dovetail with real estate values. Property owners should know we’re taking these circumstances into account. It’s the right thing to do.”
Commercial property owners are encouraged to use the online Real Property Income and Expense (RPIE) form to provide information on changes to rent or expenses at rpie.cookcountyassessor.com.
Because Cook County tax bills reflect the assessments of the previous year, any adjustments to property values this year will not be reflected until the second-installment tax bill received in the summer of 2021.
Property owners can take advantage of online services and information at CookCountyAssessor.com.
Additional information about property exemptions and online filing of certificates of error will be available next week.
Summary of changes to reassessment, review and appeal processes.
South and Western Suburbs
Property values for the south and western suburbs will reflect the impact of the pandemic on real estate markets in accordance with the disaster declaration and corresponding changes in value.
For River Forest, Riverside, Oak Park, Palos, and Calumet:
• All properties located in these townships already received reassessment notices as part of the scheduled 2020 reassessment process.
• The values on these reassessment notices do not include any adjustments based on COVID-19.
• Appeals for properties in River Forest, Riverside, Oak Park, and Palos can be filed until May 1st. Any appeals that have already been filed will be processed and do not need to be re-submitted.
• Assessment notices Appeals for properties in Calumet can appeal until May 26th. (Note: a previous version of this release misstated Calumet’s appeal deadline.)
• The CCAO will mail updates to all properties about their property’s COVID-19 adjustment. No action or appeal is necessary for eligible properties to receive this adjustment.
For Berwyn, Lemont, Lyons, Worth, Stickney, Orland, Cicero, Proviso, Thornton, Bremen, Rich, and Bloom:
• All properties in these south and western suburbs will receive reassessment notices this year.
• This notice will include information about adjustments to values due to COVID-19’s impact on the market. No action or appeal is necessary in order for properties to receive a market adjustment.
• Appeals for these properties can be filed after these reassessment notices are mailed. Dates will be posted at CookCountyAssessor.com.
North Suburbs and Chicago
In non-triennial assessment areas, the CCAO would typically only reassess properties that have permits or other special applications. The north suburbs and the City of Chicago are not part of this year’s triennial reassessment.
For Evanston, Norwood Park, Rogers Park, New Trier, and Barrington:
• Some properties have already received reassessment notices due to permits or other special applications.
• Appeals for these properties can be filed until May 1st. Any appeals that have already been filed will be processed and do not need to be re-submitted.
• Information about adjustments to assessed values based on estimated COVID-19 effects will be sent to all eligible property owners, regardless of whether they filed an appeal, after the appeal deadline.
For all other townships in the North Suburbs and Chicago:
• Appeal deadlines for north suburban and Chicago properties will be posted at CookCounty Assessor.com.
• Reassessment notices for these townships, with recent permits or special applications, do not include value adjustments due to the COVID-19 market impact.
• Information about adjustments to assessed values based on estimated COVID-19 effects for eligible properties will be sent to property owners, regardless of whether they filed an appeal, after the appeal deadline.