Opinion 90-42


This opinion represents the views of the Office of the State Comptroller at the time it was rendered. The opinion may no longer represent those views if, among other things, there have been subsequent court cases or statutory amendments that bear on the issues discussed in the opinion.


CITIES -- Fees (filing of in rem tax foreclosure lists)
FEES -- Exemption from (housing authority) -- Liability for (city tax districts)
PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITY -- Fees (exemption from filing and recording fees)
REAL PROPERTY TAXES AND ASSESSMENTS -- Enforcement (fees for filing in rem lists)

REAL PROPERTY TAX LAW, §1122; CPLR 8021; PUBLIC HOUSING LAW, §52: In a county which maintains an alphabetic system of indexing lis pendens, the county clerk is entitled to a fee of ten dollars for each in rem tax foreclosure list filed by a tax district therein. In any other county, the county clerk is entitled to the fee(s) prescribed by the CPLR. A municipal housing authority is exempt from recording or filing fees otherwise due the county.

You ask whether a city is liable for a fee for filing a list of properties affected by unpaid tax liens to be foreclosed by actions in rem, pursuant to title 3 of article 11 of the Real Property Tax Law [RPTL], and whether a city housing authority is exempt from paying recording and filing fees generally.

Any "tax district" may elect to adopt the provisions of title 3 of article 11 of the Real Property Tax Law (RPTL, §1104[1]). A "tax district" is defined for these purposes to include a city (RPTL, §1102[1]). The initial step in the formal process of foreclosing unpaid taxes in rem is for the tax district to file in the office of the county clerk a list of all parcels of real property on which taxes remain unpaid for the period specified by law (RPTL, §1122[1]).

Pursuant to section 1122(5) of the RPTL, a county clerk "shall be entitled to a fee of [$10] for ... receiving, filing and indexing of each ... list [of in rem parcels] in lieu of any other fees to which he might otherwise be entitled for such services except in counties having a block and section system of indexing lis pendens and in such counties the fee for filing shall be as provided by law". Thus, in a county which maintains an alphabetic system of indexing lis pendens, the county clerk is entitled to the ten dollar fee prescribed by RPTL, §1122(5) for each in rem list filed by a tax district therein. In any county having a block and section system of indexing lis pendens, the county clerk will be entitled to those fees prescribed by the Civil Practice Law and Rules [CPLR]. For filing or recording a lis pendens or notice of pendency generally, CPLR, §8021(a)(10) prescribes a fee of $15.

With respect to a municipal housing authority, Public Housing Law, §52(1) provides that housing authorities are exempt from the payment of "(a) any taxes or fees to the state or any subdivision thereof and (b) any fees to any officer or employee of the state or of any subdivision thereof ...". We recently considered this statute with respect to court filing fees and concluded that a municipal housing authority was exempt therefrom (1989 Opns St Comp No. 89-63, p 139, copy enclosed). For the reasons expressed in that opinion, we believe a municipal housing authority is exempt from recording or filing fees due the county.

October 16, 1990
Angelo Patti, Deputy County Clerk
County of Rensselaer