Appellate court affirms ruling in favor of Harris County Appraisal District in apartment complex appraisal dispute

By Gabriel Neves | Sep 24, 2018

Apartment building   Pexels

HOUSTON – A real estate developer has lost an appeal against a county appraisal district after a judge ruled it failed to timely file its petition challenging a property tax appraisal.

Texas Judge Harvey Brown, on the bench of the 1st Court of Appeals, issued a nine-page ruling Sept. 20, affirming the Harris County 80th District Court's decision in the lawsuit filed by Houston Copperwood Apts LP against the Harris County Appraisal District (HCAD). 

In his ruling, Brown sustained the fact that Copperwood did not file the request for review on time and that the board sent the notice to the address provided.

"We hold that ARB properly sent notice of its final order to (Property Tax Advocates') Walnut Lane address because that was the most-recent address in HCAD’s records," said Brown, adding that "because Copperwood failed to timely file its petition, the trial court lacked jurisdiction to hear the appeal and properly granted HCAD’s plea to the jurisdiction," the ruling states.

The appraisal district was sued by Houston Copperwood due to disagreements over an appraisal made at a Harris County apartment complex.

As stated in the ruling, in 2007, Houston Copperwood, which owned an apartment complex in the county, chose Property Tax Advocates Inc. "as its agent for property tax matters related to the apartment complex by filing an appointment-of-agent form with HCAD."

In early 2016, the district, per the ruling, "appraised the value of Copperwood’s apartment complex for the 2016 tax year," sending the notice to the agent.

Houston Copperwood appealed to the Appraisal Review Board, which decided to keep the appraisal on Aug. 22, 2016. Copperwood filed a review of the order 60 days later, alleging "excessive appraisal and unequal appraisal," the ruling states. The filing period was never invocated.

The district, according to the ruling, "filed a plea to the jurisdiction, arguing that Copperwood failed to file its petition within the 60-day filing period." Copperwood alleged that "the 60-day filing period was never triggered because ARB failed to provide proper notice of its final order," the ruling states.

Copperwood also claimed that the board "was required to send notice to PTA’s Corporate Drive address because that was the address listed on the appointment-of-agent form by which Copperwood initially designated PTA as its agent."

1st Court of Appeals case number 01-17-00934-CV

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