Before the next wave of property taxes roll around, people who live in historic neighborhoods may want to consider seeing if their home qualifies for Mills Act Historic Property Contract Program to reduce their property tax.
Living in an HPOZ (Historic Preservation Overlay Zone) as many in the area do, offers several benefits to homeowners. If you are considered a “contributing structure” within an HPOZ you may qualify for the Mills Act, which offers property tax reduction which can help you rehabilitate, restore and maintain your property.
Homeowners looking to do work on an historic property may also avail themselves of the California Historical Building Code, which offers more flexibility in obtaining permits to historic structures. There are also programs offered through the Federal Historic Rehabilitation program giving tax credits for rehabilitation expenditures on historic properties that are income producing (commercial, industrial and residential rentals.)
According to the City Planning Department, “Research has shown that property values in most historic districts rise faster than property values in neighborhoods that are not designated historic”. Many of the benefits carry to the sale of the home too, as the Mills Act status goes with the property, NOT the owner. It is a great selling tool that is very attractive to buyers who are paying top dollar in this market, and are facing possibly astronomical property tax bills.
The Mills Act application process is annual, and the deadline for this year is April 1st, 2015, followed by a workshop mid-month, explaining the process in more detail. You need not apply to attend this workshop and I recommend you do so if you are considering applying for the Mills Act in the future.
Jill Galloway is a resident of Windsor Square and a Director with the John Aaroe Group