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Congresswoman’s Property in Home Inspection List of Monroe

January 11th, 2011

Connecticut Congresswoman DebraLee Hovey's home has been put in the home inspection list of the town assessor in Monroe. However, the state representative has refused to allow the inspection, arguing that she has constitutional rights and has the right not to allow the physical inspection.

The house inspection was reportedly needed to determine whether the elected official has renovated her basement without securing necessary permits. According to sources, the assessor's office got a complaint that the Hoveys did not secure permits before having work done on their basement and as a result avoided additional property tax charges.

The congresswoman, elected to her fifth term last year, has denied the accusations. However, although Hovey has every right not to allow the inspection of her property, the tax assessor reportedly also has the right to increase the assessment on her home. The increase, according to local officials, can be based on estimated improvements.

Hovey has asserted that the basement upgrades were conducted with the correct permits secured by herself and her husband and by their contractors. Officials from the assessor's office stated that a notice was sent to Hovey to let her know that her property is included in the town's home inspection list. Officials further added that the request note was based on a complaint alleging that Hovey had converted her home's garage into a room, renovated the basement, put in a woodstove and added a bathroom, all without the necessary permits.

The congresswoman revealed that she did not respond to the letter containing the inspection request and has added that it is her right not to. The notice of increased assessment is usually sent to the homeowner 10 days after a grand list is signed. Local officials also stated that a homeowner cannot appeal assessment changes unless they allow town inspectors to conduct a physical examination of the property.

Documents showed that Hovey's house has an assessed worth of over $204,000 as of October 2009, representing 70% of the home's estimated market worth of $291,800. The last time assessors inspected the property was in 1998 when the Hoveys purchased the property. Meanwhile, Hovey's camp reportedly stated that the inclusion of the property in the town's home inspection list is merely a political ploy.

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