Abreu v. City of Newark

A-6149-96T5 (N.J. Super. App. Div. 1998) (Unpublished)
  • Opinion Date: June 24, 1998

PROPERTY TAXES; ABATEMENT—For the purpose of establishing the tax abatement filing deadline for buyers of residential property in urban redevelopment projects, the thirty day period is measured from the time when both a certificate of occupancy is issued and the property is occupied as a principal residence.

This case involves a question of whether or not a particular tax abatement application was or was not timely filed. The taxpayer’s home was completed by a developer and a certificate of occupancy was issued on July 3, 1996. On July 11, 1996, the taxpayer acquired and occupied the property. More than thirty days after the certificate of occupancy was issued, but less than thirty days after the taxpayer acquired and occupied the property, the taxpayer filed a tax abatement application. The municipality rejected the application because it was not filed within thirty days of issuance of the Certificate of Occupancy. N.J.S. 54:4-3.144 requires filing with thirty days “following the completion of the improvement… .” The Appellate Division disagreed with the municipality and opined that there are two prongs to the definition of “completed.” The statute says that “completed” in respect to a particular property, means when it is substantially ready for the use for which it is intended and its occupancy as a principal residence. Consequently, the taxpayer’s abatement application was held to have been timely filed.