Senior citizens exemption: Ownership requirements
You must own the property for at least 12 consecutive months prior to the date of filing for the senior citizens exemption, unless you received the exemption for your previous residence.
In computing the 12-month period, the period of ownership is not interrupted by the following:
- A transfer of title to one spouse from the other
- A transfer of title to a surviving spouse from a deceased spouse either by will or operation of law
- A transfer of title to the former owner(s), provided the reacquisition occurs within nine months after the initial transfer and the property was receiving the senior citizens exemption as of such date
- A transfer of title solely to a person(s) who maintained the property as a primary residence at the time of death of the former owner(s), provided the transfer occurs within nine months after the death of the former owner(s) and the property was receiving the senior citizens exemption as of such date
The period of ownership of a prior residence may be considered where:
- The property was sold by condemnation or other involuntary proceeding (except a tax sale) and another property has been acquired to replace the taken property;
- The prior residence has been sold and a replacement purchase made within one year if both residences are within the State.
You can prove ownership by submitting to the assessor a certified copy of the deed, mortgage, or other instrument by which you became owner of the property.
Cooperative apartments - Municipalities are authorized to grant the exemption to seniors who own shares in residential cooperatives. If granted, you would receive adjustments to your monthly maintenance fees to reflect the benefit of that exemption.
Life estates or trusts - The life tenant is entitled to possession and use of the property for the duration of his or her life and is deemed the owner for all purposes, including taxation. The exemption also may be allowed if the property is in trust and all the trustees or all the beneficiaries qualify.