(NAPA, Calif.--) Property owners in Napa County are receiving solicitations from private companies offering to provide services for a substantial fee that the Napa County Assessor and Recorder Divisions provide for free or for minimal cost. “I am always distressed when private companies use questionable tactics to obtain fees from unsuspecting property owners,” said John Tuteur, Napa County Assessor-Recorder-County Clerk, "Residents should call our office before using any of these services, to ensure that they are not being charged for services that we would provide at no cost or at a low cost."
The first of these solicitations is to homeowners whose property may have declined in value since their purchase date. The private firm offers to file an Application for Changed Assessment on behalf of the property owner for a percentage of the tax savings or a flat fee if the value appeal is successful. An Application for Changed Assessment is not necessary because the Assessor will review the value of any property for a possible decline in value for free at the request of the property owner. A free Request for Decline in Value Review is available at http://www.countyofnapa.org/Assessor/. The request can also be by phone or e-mail directly to Tuteur at (707) 253-4459 email@example.com.
In addition to individual requests for any property in the County, the Assessor will automatically review the value of all single family residences on less than 5 acres and condominiums throughout the County, to determine if value reductions are warranted as of Jan. 1, 2013.
The second scheme offers to obtain a copy of the deed for property for a fee of up to $139. Any person can obtain a copy of the deed to their property from the Napa County Recorder for $2 per page. Most deeds are one or two pages in length. Copies can be obtained by mail, in person or by e-mail.
“Official records are kept in California and throughout the nation,” Tuteur added “so that anyone can obtain a copy of the deed to property at any time without having to worry about keeping or finding the deed in their files.” Contact the County Recorder office at (707) 253-4105 or at firstname.lastname@example.org. Payment can be made by cash, check, debit or credit card. Debit and credit card transactions carry an additional processing fee from the third party vendor of $2.50 and $7, respectively.
Any property owner receiving one of these solicitations should contact Assessor-Recorder John Tuteur at (707) 253-4459 or at email@example.com