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Real estate record and builders' guide: v. 12, no. 283: August 16, 1873

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--i AND BUILDERS' GUIDE. Vol. XIL NEW YORK, SATURDAY, AUGUST 10, 1873. No. 283 Published Weekly by 'HE REAL ESTATE RECORD ASSOCIATION. TERMS. One year, in advance......................$G 00 All communications should be addi-ossed to Whitino Builoixg, 345 and 347 Broadavat. SPECIAL NOTICE. While the problem of erecting fire-proof buildings is far from being solved yet, the proprietor of the Bnena Vista Freestone Works claims for the stone that comes from his quarry in Scioto County. Ohio, a superiority- over all other stone in ease of a fire. He also states that the Buena Vista Freestone has been subjected to repented tests, and stands a pressure of 2,000 pounds more to the square inch than the broAA'n stone of Connec¬ ticut. The stone-yard and steam-mill are at the corner of Eleventh Avenue and Sixtieth Street. FRAUDULENT RECORDS-A PHILADELPHIA WARNING. The frauds perpetrated by one Leslie in collnsion Avith a clerk in the oflice of the Kecorder of Deeds in the city of Philadelphia are of startling suggestion. Leslie prepared searches, upon which the clerk iu question was .authorized to affix a stamp ccrtifjing that they Avere correct. In this way numerous parcels of property were certified to be almost, if not entirely, clear of incumbrance, and no difficulty was therefore experienced in obtain¬ ing additional loans. That such things should happen suggests radical delects in the administration of tlie ofiice of Recorder of Deeds, yet under the or¬ dinary pressure of business in sucli an office it becomes impossible to the Recorder to make personal examination, or to vouch for the reli¬ ability of the certificates, except upon the state¬ ments of his emploj'es. We do not know the system in vogue iu Philadelphia for the prevention of such frauds, but reflection and a careful scrutiny of our OAvn method for the record of deeds, mortgages, aiid other instru¬ ments affecting title to real property, convinces us that even under the best management (and none has been more capable than that of the present Register of the county,) it is impossi¬ ble to prevent frauds if searchers aud clerks are in collusion witli persons who seek to vitiate the record. It sometimes happens that forged deeds or mortgages enter upon the record. This is a matter for which neither the Register nor any of his assistants can be held responsible. But false searches may be pre¬ pared, and equally false entries may be made upon the books, and through the connivance of a single subordinate. Again, the indiscrim¬ inate manner in which the records are left open for examination by interested parties, f without any precautionary measures for watch- iug the books, affords another opportunity for the mutilation or alteration.of the record. Similar opportunities for fraud were offered in the County Clerk's office, and still prevail in a diminished degree. It was not many years since that a County Clerk of this county was called upon to pay certain damages in¬ curred by the fraudulent alteration of a judg¬ ment debtor's name upon the docket ot judg¬ ments. It is possible, nay probable, that thor¬ ough search throughout the records of the Couuty Clerk's aud Register's oflices Avould discover numerous discrepancies which, if followed up and s3'-stematically traced, Avould develop evidences of fraud. The lesson of Pliiladelphia, therefore, teaches all real estate buyers or lenders upon mortgages not to be satisfied with an official search, but through some competent and reliable source to verily the official statement. In addition it suggests the necessity for the invention of some plan or device for the better protection of the rec¬ ord of titles to real estate and for the preven¬ tion of fraudulent entries or false certifica¬ tion. The administration of the offices of Couuty Clerk and Register by the present incumbents is not the subject of criticism nor animadver¬ sion, for it is known that their duties are well and admirably discharged; nevertheless Ave cannot but sec that there is room for a more rigid system of prot(3ctioii of records and ofli- cial certification as a guarantee for'our people Avhose protection is in^-^"-Ved in these legal •' lO ° safeguards. Ta'a^ THE VALUATION OF UP-TOWN PROPERTY. "We have heretofore given in the Reai, Es¬ tate Recokd a complete table shoAving the assessments upon real and personal propertj'- in the city of New York for the year 1873, and to-day give the number of applications for correction of assessments on real estate in each ward, together with the disposition made of the same: ■Wards. Corrected. First.................. 41 Second................ 40 Third................. 21 Fourth................. 30 Filth.................. GO Sixth.................. 21 Seventh............... 32 Eighth................ 22 Ninth................. 10 Tenth................. 28 Ele\-enth.............. 13 Twellth................ 87 Thirteenth............. 20 Fourteenth............ 38 Fifteenth.............. 34 Sixteenth ............. 2S) Seventeenth........... 24 Eighteenth............ 50 Nineteenth............ 110 Twentieth............ 34 TAventy-first........... 74 TAventj'-second........ 87 Total................ 911 835 1,74(1 As to the excessive valuation in the upper wards, the Tax Commissioners, under date of August 1, state: n firmed Total 21 02 11 51 21 42 20 50 27 87 24 45 10 43 42 64 35 51 33 01 12 25 05 152 18 38 21 50 48 82 21 50 34 58 35 85 148 258 50 84 40 114 87 174 Veiy fcAV probably, bear in mind that the Twelfth, Nineteenth, and TAventy-second wards include 59 per cent, or three-fifths of the entire area of the city. "Within three wards, in the space of a few years, many mil¬ lions have been spent in splendid improve¬ ments, the expense of Avhich has been or has to be borne by the tax-payers at large. The whole number of buildings completed in this city, according to the report of the superintend¬ ent of buildings, iu 1870, 1871, and 1872 (esti¬ mating for the first quarter of 1870) Avas 6,071; of these 3,876 Avere in the three upper wards! The aggregate increase of valuations in the Av^hole city for these years Avas |118,546,478. Granting for a moment, as has been claimed, that the assessments should keep pace only with the new buildhigs, or, in other words, that the increase of buildings should be the sole basis for increase of valuations, aud Ave have the following result: As the ncAV buildiugs in the whole city 6,071, are to those, 3,870, in the tliree upper wards, so should the total increased valuation $118,- 540,478, be to the increased valuation in those wards $60,390,740. The actual increase in valuation in these three wards is' $62,745,475, or au excess of only $2,354,735. " Ought any¬ thing more be needed to shoAV how totally unfounded are the complaints of discrimina¬ tion against the.^e upper wards ? The term of three years is chosen for comparison for rea¬ sons Avhich Avill appear in referring hereafter lo tlie assessments in the Nineteenth Ward. THE I\IIsETEENTH AVARD. The increase of $19,235,760, in the assessed valuation of this Avard for 1873, above the assessment for 1872, has been made the occa¬ sion of criticism, and it is due to those who make complaints that this report should not pass by those complaints Avithout observation. This Avard is bounded hj Fortieth and Eighty- sixth streets, and Sixth Avenue and the'East River, and has for several years been the thea¬ tre of the most active operations in real estate, and the area in Avhich the most stately and costly mansions have been erected. For more than tAVO miles, Avhat is at present the most elegant avenue of the city, stretches tlirough it. Within its limits capitalists discovered " the potentiality of acquiring wealth beyond the Avilde&t dreams of avarice." The advance in value of its lots has been such as to almost pai'alyze for the time the efibrts of the assessor to keep pace Avith it. Many of the owners themselves have doubted the actuality and permaueuce of the constantly increasing prices. Delegations of tax-payers holding property there have pressed their vicAvs upon the Commissioners. Some of the points the3'- have presented may be briefly stated thus: That prices had attained a point at which they Avere not likely to be supported. That those who had invented at high prices ought to be treated Avith special lenienc}^ as their purchases had helped to keep up the tone of the market, and sustain prices generally. That those Avho had erected buildings should be considered as public benefactors, who Avere ornamenting the city at their own expense, and encouraging others to follow their example, entitling them to exemptions sometimes accorded to pioneers. That many local assessments for paving, &c., would yet be imposed upon the property. That at least one year of grace shoukl be al- . lowed, and any increase of assessment post¬ poned for that period.