Request for Information Concerning Investor Purchases of Condominiums and Cooperative Units

GGD-81-26: Published: Nov 17, 1980. Publicly Released: Dec 15, 1980.

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To assist an investigation into the Federal response to the growing trend toward the conversion of multifamily rental buildings into condominium or cooperative housing, GAO examined the public property tax and the title records of a number of specific properties. The purpose was to determine to the greatest extent practicable the identity of those individuals who have purchased condominiums or cooperative units for investment purposes.

The review of the county office property tax and title records generally resulted in the development of the requested information. However, completeness and usefulness of the records varied between counties. In some of the counties reviewed, it was difficult to determine whether or not the owner of the property was also a resident. Another problem was the fact that Texas law does not require that the purchase price of a property be included in any way on the documents available in county offices. As a result, GAO was unable to obtain this information for properties located in Texas. In addition, it was found that in Texas the use of tax records in developing the requested information places some restrictions on the completeness of the data. In general, some caution should be placed on the use of the data because of limitations in the records from which it was obtained.

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