Governor Crist helps property owners affected by Gulf oil spill

Florida Governor Charlie Crist sent a strong message to Florida legislature to take action on behalf of homeowners whose property values have suffered as a result of the Gulf oil spill.

On July 21, 2010, the day after the Florida Legislature shunned Governor Charlie Crist’s plan for an oil ban, the Governor attempted to give property owner’s affected by the oil spill a break by issuing an Executive Order.

The Order states that property appraisers in the affected counties are authorized “to provide interim assessments of any real property in the affected counties that may have suffered a loss in value as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil spill. The purpose of this assessment is to document the “current year claims against British Petroleum and any of its agents or subsidiaries responsible for the disaster and other responsible parties.”

These interim assessments are then to be made available to the affected property owners to be used as documentation of any loss in real property value sustained as a result of the Deepwater Horizon oil leak to substantiate claims against BP and other responsible parties relating to the loss in value of the property.

The documentation may also be used to substantiate claims for the economic loss resulting from liability for property taxes, which are based on the January 1, 2010 values despite a disproportionate reduction in the value of the real property caused by the oil spill.

Although the Governor does not have the authority to issue tax rebates, it sends a clear message to the Florida legislature that action must be taken, at least in the areas of Escambia and Santa Rosa counties which are the counties most affected by the oil spill thus far.

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