Woman says HCAD was a ‘no show’ for virtual appraisal protest hearing

The appointment was to protest Harris County property taxes

HOUSTON – Margaret Penny loves to play bridge with friends.

She would much rather spend her time doing this than navigating the Harris County Appraisal District’s website and its protest process.

“Right, navigating the system has been unbelievable. It’s not very user-friendly for a senior citizen,” said homeowner Penny.

Penny said her virtual appointment was all set up for Monday morning, but when she logged on, no one was there.

“I just feel like I lost my chance to even ask. If they think I dodged the virtual, I wouldn’t even get the chance to talk to anybody,” said Penny.

Penny tried calling for help but was put in line at number 61.

“We don’t know exactly what happened, but if it was something with the system and it wasn’t working so she couldn’t access her meeting, we will be glad to reschedule and work with her,” said Jack Barnett, chief communications officer at the Harris County Appraisal District.

H.C.A.D tells KPRC2 that 97% of residential properties increased in value at an average of 20% this year.

Many homeowners are now protesting their appraisals before the May 16 deadline, meaning long wait and response times.

“Right now, it could be a week or a little more just because of the volume of emails that we are getting... not to mention the phone calls that are coming in,” said Barnett. “It could be faster to come in, depending on the issue.”

Barnett said if you missed your hearing, not to panic... You will automatically get rescheduled for another one.

“The only thing I can say at this point is, we encourage them to have patience and keep trying to call. As I said earlier in the day, (if) you can do that, the better,” said Barnett.

Some more tips include calling around 8 a.m. The earlier the better.

There are videos on www.HCAD.org that may answer your questions so you don’t have to call or email.

You can email questions at help@hcad.org and try to be short and concise with your question or download the HCAD app.

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