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Volume 1 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 78

Opinions of Counsel index

Aged exemption (length of ownership) (residence) (occupancy) - Real Property Tax Law, § 467:

Where a trailer is placed on land which has been owned for more than five years, and is occupied as the legal residence of an otherwise qualified taxpayer, the property is entitled to the aged exemption provided by section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law.

Our opinion has been requested as to whether the ownership, residence and occupancy requirements of section 467 of the Real Property Tax Law are satisfied under the following set of circumstances: A taxpayer, otherwise qualified for the partial exemption authorized by section 467, owned a farm for a period in excess of five years. In 1970 he sold all but a small portion of the property, and the portion of the land he retained was vacant until 1971 when he placed a trailer thereon which is now his residence.

Subdivision 3 of section 467 provides that no exemption shall be granted:

“(b) unless title of the property shall have been vested in the owner or all of the owners of the property for at least sixty consecutive months prior to the date of making application for exemption * * *.”

“(c) unless the property is used exclusively for residential purposes;”

“(d) unless the real property is the legal residence of and is occupied in whole or in part by the owner or by all of the owners of the property.”

Accordingly, title to the property for which the partial exemption is claimed must have been vested in the owner for at least five consecutive years prior to filing application for exemption. The residence and occupancy requirements of this exemption statute are satisfied if at the time of filing the application for exemption the property is (1) used exclusively for residential purposes, (2) the legal residence of the applicant, and (3) occupied in whole or in part by the applicant. There is no requirement in section 467 with respect to the length of occupancy.

Trailers located in an assessing unit for more than sixty days which are used for residential purposes are real property and taxable as such (Real Property Tax Law, section 102 (12) (g) ). Furthermore, real property is defined to mean the land itself, as well as buildings and other articles or structures erected thereon (Real Property Tax Law, section 102 (12) ). So if the land is owned by the taxpayer for five or more consecutive years prior to filing application for the aged exemption, and a trailer, which the taxpayer presently occupies as his legal residence was placed on the land at some time during this period, the “property” as defined by law nevertheless has been owned for the required period of time, and assuming the taxpayer is otherwise qualified, the aged exemption may be allowed on such property.

March 30, 1972

Updated: