That’s what my house is worth, according to the Alemeda county assessor’s office. That’s an annual $8,697, or $725 a month - in taxes. Turns out that the assessors office is running “6 months behind”, according to Mary Vanderbeck, an “acting” asset service manager. I asked if there were any way that I could avoid paying the $4,964 semi-annual tax bill, and instead pay what I owed - about eight hundred bucks. “Nothing even comes into my mind” she said.
“Aren’t you astonished that there’s no way to fix this? Ten thousand in taxes on a $135,000 house is quite a bit of money.” “The only thing that surprises me is that you got a $650,000 house for $135,000.” She added, “You were lucky to get a house from people who couldn’t afford to pay for it. I’ve heard some real eviction horror stories - people taking sinks, you name it.” They’ll refund me the difference. Eventually.
I did let her know that this was a fix & flip gone horribly wrong, and that I was saving a house that was red-tagged in mid “fix” for a quick flip, but that didn’t seem to help.
In other news, there’s a house for sale on my block for just a little less than a hundred grand. Why? Because the city has red-tagged it, too, and put a $50,000 “prospective lien” on it, just like mine. Because of illegal work done at least twenty years ago. We were informed by the Community and Economic Development agency that there is “no grandfathering” of unpermitted work. This means any house in Oakland can be slapped with this “compliance plan” nonsense at any time. Until the unpermitted work is repaired, you will accrue fines. This is being used all over West Oakland, and it’s done from the street - the inspectors drive by and make a judgement call based on what they see, not on the records (My neighbour’s “violations” included a fully permitted vinyl siding job and stair railings that dated from the original construction of the home in 1908). He was “notified” by inspector Kim Nguyen, who placed her business card under his windshield at 7 am with a note saying, “Please call me.”
For those of you who get hit with this, FIGHT IT. I’m told (friend of a friend, so take it with a grain of sait) that signing the compliance plan is an admission of guilt. Get a lawyer, talk to other departments, do what it takes to not sign that document. Once you do, you’ll have to fix the violations, which means drawing your house ($2,500), pulling permits ($500?) and fixing the problem. And you have to do so on their schedule - and if you miss the deadlines, you’re out the $2,000 bond, and back to square one.