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Volume 9 - Opinions of Counsel SBEA No. 117

Opinions of Counsel index

Assessment review, small claims (scheduling of hearing date) (notice of hearing) - Real Property Tax Law, §§ 730, 732:

For purposes of small claims assessment review hearings, both the petitioner and the assessing unit must be contacted prior to scheduling such hearing, and each must be given written notice of the hearing at least 10 business days prior thereto. Provided these criteria are followed, a small claims assessment review hearing officer may schedule hearings as soon as cases are assigned to such hearing officer.

Section 732 of the Real Property Tax Law (RPTL) provides that small claims assessment review hearings must be held within 45 days of the last date set by law for the filing of petitions; however, an exception is made where it is not practicable to do so (RPTL, § 732(1)). The Uniform Rules for the New York State Trial Courts restate the law (22 NYCRR 202.58(e)(4)). Neither the statute nor the Rules, however, prescribes any date prior to which a hearing may not be conducted.

Therefore, a small claims hearing officer may begin to schedule cases as soon as he or she receives assignments from the Supreme Court Clerk. Note that section 732 of the RPTL requires that both parties be given written notice of the hearing ten business days prior thereto (RPTL, §732(1)) and that the Rules require the hearing officer to contact both parties prior to scheduling a hearing (22 NYCRR 202.58(e)(4)).

The responsibility for the administration of the small claims program is by law vested in the Office of Court Administration (RPTL, § 730). Accordingly, all matters that relate to administrative aspects, such as the scheduling of hearings, must be presented to the Supreme Court Clerk or the District Administrative Judge.

August 18, 1992