Gov. Andrew M. Cuomo recently announced a crackdown on double dippers who live in rent-regulated apartments, while also claiming a School Tax Relief (STAR) exemption on a separately owned home.
"These programs are meant to deliver much-needed rent and property tax relief to New York residents, and any corruption of the system hurts the hard-working tenants and homeowners who follow the rules," Cuomo said. "This action is a direct result of reforms our administration has implemented to target abuse in state programs to create a fairer and more equal New York."
Rent-regulation records were cross-checked against the first statewide STAR registration system, implemented last year, and 156 duplicate names were found. New York State Homes & Community Renewal and the state Tax Department sent joint letters that give recipients 60 days to correct their records, or risk having the information provided to their respective landlords.
Commissioner and CEO of New York State Homes and Community Renewal Darryl C. Towns said, "In 2011, the state's rent laws were extended and strengthened for the first time in decades, as part of Gov. Cuomo's efforts to effectively protect tenants. The rent laws have critical obligations for landlords, but also for tenants. This action is an important next step to protect two million rent-regulated tenants from the abuses of a relative handful who would try to defraud the system."
Commissioner of New York State Department of Taxation & Finance Thomas H. Mattox said, "Today we are sending a strong message about primary residency that is explicitly stated in the law, as well as in every lease and property tax bill. However, it is also simple common sense: if you lease a rent-regulated apartment, you cannot also have another home as your primary residence. Thanks to the governor's leadership, we are taking an action that protects all tax-paying renters and homeowners."
Last year, New York state introduced a new statewide STAR registration program to protect New Yorkers from the cost of those falsely claiming multiple exemptions. Approximately 2.4 million property taxpayers registered for the Basic Star exemption.The STAR program provides targeted school property tax savings to more than three million eligible homeowners across New York. The Basic STAR exemption, saving homeowners $700 per year on average, is available to all homeowners with incomes below $500,000, while the Enhanced STAR program is available to senior homeowners with incomes below $81,900.