Has an Alameda County property declined in value? The owner can potentially lower the assessment of the real property to a lower value in its current market value range. Yet time is of the essence.

During the pandemic, we repeatedly said that while tenants could live rent-free because of eviction moratoriums, rental property owners still had to pay a mortgage, maintenance costs, taxes, and a myriad of other expenses that come with being in the landlording business.

Sadly, a lack of rental income took a toll on mom-and-pop landlords and some who were fed up and decided to sell their properties discovered that buyers did not want to purchase a building where tenants were chronically not paying rent.

Act two: The owner gets hit with a huge tax bill despite the underperforming rental property.


There may be relief under Proposition 8.

Under Prop 8, when the market value of a property falls below its assessed value, the building's value can be temporarily reduced to reflect its lower market value, allowing owners to benefit from reduced property taxes during economic downturns or when property values decline.

Many rental property owners may certainly check this box. A reduction in value may be argued because of vacancies, the quality of tenants residing in the building, rampant crime, increasing costs, and any number of other turn of events that have put a damper on the value. You can also put a finger on the use of the property and replacement costs.

Deferred maintenance is another one.

There were some properties, unfortunately, that were allowed to atrophy. With tenants not paying rent, many landlords did not have the funds necessary to keep the building in tip-top shape.

The main objective: show the assessor’s office that the market value of the property is below its indexed value.


Before reaching out to the assessor’s office, do your due diligence.

Firstly, owners should evaluate county records for accuracy , identify any errors, and provide supporting documentation to make their case. Find sales of comparable properties.

You can then reach out to the assessor’s office to request an "informal review." It's up to the discretion of the individual assessor whether a change in the value is warranted. Oftentimes, a nominal reduction is granted but smaller than what the owner is looking for.

The next step is to file a formal appeal and in Alameda County, this can be done electronically. This is an opportunity to have a more substantive conversation with the assessor and present your case.

If there is an agreed-upon reduction in market value, and within 3 months, the owner could get a refund.

If the owner and the assessor do not see eye to eye on the value of the property, the last recourse is to attend a hearing in front of a board of appeals that is designed to be impartial and is composed of three people well-versed in tax and real estate matters. They will be the final arbiters of what the fair value of the property is.

That's the end of the road. If there are procedural errors in the hearing, the matter can be brought to the Superior Court, which will send the case back to the same 3-person panel and, from hard-won experience, it's rare for the outcome to be changed.

Although an attorney need not be involved in this process, Daniel Bornstein is also a real estate broker and will gladly refer you to real estate professionals who can assist in providing an appraisal of what the property is worth, taking into account comparable sales and a number of intangible factors such as problematic tenants.


For more information, consult the County's resources below.

Decline in Market Value Informal Request (January 1, 2023)

Decline in Market Value Brochure (PDF)