Apartment Dwellers Are People Too And, Their Rent Funds Property Taxes

Apartment Dwellers Are People Too
And, Their Rent Funds Property Taxes
By Susan M. Halpern
Former Addison Councilmember (1992-1999)

Now comes word that a Meier supporter is circulating yet another negative letter, now attacking Joe Chow and Lori Ward because they live in apartments in Addison, rather than owning homes. And, again claiming (falsely) that they do not contribute to the Addison tax roll. Isn’t it time to end this negativism and focus on healing Addison? What are we to think when someone claims that they will unite our community, but continues to divide it with all these negative attacks? I’m still waiting for how unification will happen in the face of such divisive tactics. In any event, let’s talk about the apartment issue.

First, apartment dwellers are citizens of Addison, just as those of us who own homes are citizens of Addison. We each get one vote. There is no difference when we enter the polls. And, apartment dwellers are equally eligible to run for public office.

Second, the various apartment buildings and complexes located in Addison are valued by the Dallas County Appraisal District, just like our homes are valued by DCAD. The value of the apartment buildings is included in the overall taxable land value that Addison counts on in calculating its property tax revenue.

Third, just like we homeowners do, the owners of the various apartment buildings and complexes receive tax bills, and those tax bills include property taxes charged by – and paid to – the Town of Addison. But, I can guarantee you that the apartment owners receive property tax bills that are much bigger than the ones we homeowners receive. And, apartment complexes and buildings don’t get to reduce their property tax bills using homestead exemptions and other exemptions relating to age and disability that are available to homeowners.

Fourth, the owners of the apartment buildings pay their property taxes to Addison using the rents they collect from their tenants, the aforementioned apartment dwellers. And that means that when someone living in an apartment in Addison pays their rent, they are contributing to Addison’s property tax revenue. The only difference is that their contribution is indirect, in that they pay rent, and that rent funds the property taxes that are paid to Addison, from which we all benefit.

Fifth, people live in apartments for many reasons. Some are older and have sold their homes, others are younger and have not yet bought homes, others choose the simplicity of the lifestyle (including the absence of yard work and other maintenance obligations), while others enjoy the extraordinary amenities of some of the complexes in Addison.

Finally, given all this, the continued attacks on apartments and on Joe Chow and Lori Ward for living in them, contribute nothing to much needed discourse regarding how Addison is going to heal itself in the wake of Todd Meier’s divisive tenure as mayor. 

Let’s get back to the Addison Way and start moving this Town forward.