Several people have used Chicago Cityscape to try and find who owns a property. Since I’ve got property tax data for 2,013,563 individually billed pieces of property in Cook County I can help them research that answer.
The problem, though, is that the data, from the Cook County combined property tax website, only shows who receives the property tax bills – the recipient – who isn’t always the property’s owner.
The combined website is a great tool. Property value info comes from the Assessor’s office. Sales data comes from the Recorder of Deeds, which is another, separately elected, Cook County government agency. Finally, the Treasurer’s office, a third agency, also with a separately elected leader, sends the bills and collects the tax.
The following is a list of the top 100 (or so) “property tax bill recipients” in Cook County for the tax years 2010 to 2014, ranked by the number of associated Property Index Numbers.
Many PINs have changed recipients after being sold or divided, and the data only lists the recipient at its final tax year. A tax bill for Unit 1401 at 235 W Van Buren St was at one time sent to “235 VAN BUREN, CORP” (along with 934 other bills), but in 2011 the PIN was divided after the condo unit was sold.
Of the 100 names, DataMade’s new “probablepeople” name parsing Python script identified 13 as persons. It mistakenly identified eight names as “Person”, leaving five people in the top 100.
The actual number is closer to 90, arrived at by combining 5 names that seem to be the same (using OpenRefine’s clustering function) and removing 5 “to the current taxpayer” and empty names. You’ll notice “Altus” listed four times (they’re based in Phoenix) and Chicago Title Land Trust, which can help property owners remain private, listed twice (associated with 643 PINs).
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