Note Regarding Inspections
The Minnesota Department of Revenue requires all counties to visually inspect each property once every five years. The inspection usually takes 15 minutes or less and includes both interior and exterior. You have the right to refuse the inspection either verbally or in a letter to the county assessor. If the assessor is denied access to the property, the assessor will make assumptions believed appropriate concerning the property's finish and condition.
What is the annual “quintile” (20%) property review?
Each year, appraisers from the County Assessor’s Office perform on-site physical inspections of 20% of the properties in each jurisdiction. This results in your property being viewed at least once in each five year period. The goal is to review the physical property characteristics pertaining to both the land and any structures on the property to ensure that accurate information was previously recorded in the County’s database, and that no changes have occurred since that time.
Why does the assessor staff conduct this review?
This is an important step in ensuring that all property owners are paying their fair share of property taxes, nothing more, and nothing less. Because the property tax is a value-based tax, it is of the utmost importance that the information being utilized to set annual property values is based on the most accurate and current property information available. To highlight the importance of this effort, the state legislature enacted a law which requires that the assessor shall actually view each tract or lot of real property listed for taxation at maximum intervals of five years (Minnesota Statute 237.08).
What happens during the review?
Typically, the assessor will come through an entire neighborhood at the same time, reviewing all properties by going door-to-door. They will start out by knocking on your door to let you know who they are and what the purpose of the visit is.
- If you are present during the initial visit, the appraiser will most likely request an interior inspection of any structures on the property. Depending on the existing property record information, when an appraiser was last able to review the property, and other miscellaneous factors, the appraiser may review interior information verbally at the door. In almost all circumstances the appraiser will also conduct an exterior review of the property which entails taking photographs, verifying measurements of structures, and updating the property records to reflect the current condition of structures on the property.
- If you are not present during the initial visit, the appraiser will leave a “door tag” which looks like a large yellow post-it note. The note will include an explanation of the purpose for the visit, and any follow up action being requested by the appraiser. Follow up action could include calling to schedule an inspection of the property, or calling to review specific information over the phone. In almost all circumstances the appraiser will also conduct an exterior review of the property which entails taking photographs, verifying measurements of structures, and updating the property records to reflect the current condition of structures on the property.
What if I refuse entry to the assessor?
Not responding to a note or not answering the door is not considered a refusal of entry. In any case, if the assessor is not able to complete a review of the property they will make assumptions believed appropriate concerning the property's finish and condition. Also, the local appeal board may not make an individual market value adjustment or classification change that would benefit the property in cases where the owner or other person having control over the property will not permit the assessor to inspect the property and the interior of any buildings or structures. The Assessor's Office is required by State statute 273.01 to physically review your property at least once every five years and record any changes in property characteristics since their last visit.