Spanning nearly 1000 square miles, Ocean County has the fastest growing population in New Jersey. Nearly one-third of Ocean County is water and it features thousands of waterfront properties, which present a unique set of challenges for Ocean County’s tax assessors. While our office is located in neighboring Monmouth County, the majority of our Tax Appeal clients have come from Ocean County.
In 2004, we represented a class of property owners in Lavallette and we reduced the assessments for 85% of the appeals we filed. In 2011, we handled approximately 200 tax appeals for the residents of Lakewood and we obtained substantial reductions in assessments for over 90% of our clients on those appeals. In 2015, the towns of Little Egg Harbor, Beachwood, South Toms River, and Lacey will all have equalization ratios that are far in excess of 100%, leading to several over-assessed properties. The commissioners of the Ocean County Tax Board have expertise in various areas of real estate, and they trust our appraisers to deliver thorough, unbiased reports to demonstrate the true market values of the properties we appeal.
Out of the 31 municipalities in Ocean County, 26 border the Atlantic Ocean. During Hurricane Sandy, waterfront towns like Toms River, Long Beach, Stafford, Barnegat Light, Mantaloking, Seaside, Point Pleasant, Stafford and Berkeley were decimated with flooding from ocean and bay waters. As a result of the destruction from Hurricane Sandy, property values in the affected towns dropped substantially. Since real estate tax assessments are based upon the market values of properties, the diminutions of property values following Hurricane Sandy led to an unprecedented number of Tax Appeals. In 2013 and 2014, following the destruction from Hurricane Sandy, our office became involved with filing appeals on behalf of the owners of storm damaged buildings using the storm damage provision of N.J.S.A. 54:4-35.1 as well as the standard tax appeal procedure. In a few matters, we reduced the assessments of the storm-affected properties by as much as 35%.
Ocean County’s vast rental markets have made it one of our leading counties for evictions. Between 2012 and 2014, the number of evictions we handled in Ocean County increased by 30%, with most of our eviction matters remaining in the municipalities of Toms River, Lakewood, Brick and Jackson. Since the Ocean County Landlord Tenant Court takes a litigant centered approach toward dispute resolution, the Court places a strong emphasis on mediation of matters prior to trial. This process has led many landlords to become frustrated with the Ocean County Court. In some cases, several rounds of mediation are required before the eviction matter may proceed to trial. However, should your matter proceed to trial, you will have the confidence of knowing that our office has successfully tried hundreds of eviction matters and we will be fully prepared for any legal issues that may arise during your trial. The Ocean County Tenancy division will reach most cases within about 4 weeks of when they are filed and lockouts generally follow within two weeks of the Court date unless the Court finds proper cause to allow the tenant additional time to remain in the premises.