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It is important for REALTORS® to learn about Propositions 13, 60 and 90 and two propositions that will be on the November ballot, Propositions 5 and 10, because they are the first person consumers go to for information about housing.

Approved by California voters in 1978, Proposition 13 caps the maximum amount of the assessed value of real property to one percent and limits property tax increases to no more than 2 percent per year as long as the property is not sold.

Propositions 60 and 90 stem from Prop 13. Prop 60 allows anyone over the age of 55 to transfer the base year value of their original residence to any replacement residence of equal or lesser value in the same county. Prop 90 extends these provisions to a replacement residence in a different county that accepts Prop 90 transfers. Homeowners must buy the replacement home within two years of selling the existing one, or vice versa.

Propositions 60/90 are incentives for senior homeowners to downsize and move into smaller, less expensive homes without being penalized with a higher property tax. The counties that accept Prop 90 transfers are Alameda, El Dorado, Los Angeles, Orange, Riverside, Santa Clara, San Bernardino, San Diego, San Mateo, Tuolumne and Ventura. El Dorado is dropping out effective November 7.

Proposition 5 is the California Association of REALTORS®’s Property Tax Fairness Initiative and would allow seniors to transfer their tax assessments from their prior home to their new home anywhere in the state and as many times as they wish. The transferred property tax benefit would apply through a proportionate formula whether or not a senior homebuyer purchases up or down in price. C.A.R. estimates the passage of Prop 5 would provide more liquidity in the market and free up 43,000 transactions.

Those opposed to Prop 5 claim it would mean a $150 million a year in lost revenue to the state budget, but according to REALTORS® this analysis does not take into account the property tax increases that might occur when the original homes are sold and assessed at a higher tax rate; nor does it take into account the economic benefits of having someone move into a new community.

Proposition 10 would repeal the Costa-Hawkins Rental Housing Act, which limits the use of rent control in California and allows landlords to increase rent prices to market rates when a tenant moves out. This proposition would allow local governments to adopt rent control ordinances and rules on how much landlords can charge tenants for renting apartments and houses. Cities will be free to impose rent control on any residential unit, including single-family homes and new construction. This proposition would lock in low rents and dissuade investors from building much needed housing in the state.

C.A.R. is supporting Prop 5 because it would be good for housing, and actively opposing Prop 10 because it would hurt housing.

 

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The San Mateo County Board of Supervisors will consider repealing a property tax benefit for seniors and persons with disabilities wishing to relocate to San Mateo County at their upcoming meeting on Tuesday, February 26.

Proposition 90 provides anyone over the age of 55 with relief from Proposition 13 by allowing them to move from one county to another without undergoing a change in their basic property taxes. Proposition 90 stems from Propositions 60 and 110. Under these propositions, if a seller or spouse is over age 55 or if a seller of any age is disabled when their original residence is sold, the seller may transfer the base year value of their home to a replacement primary residence of equal or lesser value within the same county, provided certain conditions are fulfilled. Proposition 90 extended this benefit to seniors and the disabled who move to counties that adopted Proposition 90 rules.

Since Proposition 90 is a “local-option” law, each county has the option of participating. If a county has adopted a Proposition 90 ordinance, it accepts transfers of property tax base assessments from other California counties. If the county that the homeowner is moving from does not have a Proposition 90 ordinance, this does not affect the eligibility of the homeowner. At present, there are only eight counties that have adopted the Prop. 90 ordinance – Santa Clara, Alameda, El Dorado, Los Angeles, Orange, San Mateo, San Diego and Ventura.

In 2011, SILVAR REALTORS® successfully fought an attempt by Santa Clara County Assessor Larry Stone to eliminate the tax benefit for seniors and the disabled in Santa Clara County. Stone wanted the supervisors to eliminate Proposition 90 as a way to increase revenue, but SILVAR REALTORS® and senior residents objected to the proposal. More than 50 members from the SILVAR and the Santa Clara County Association of REALTORS® (SCCAOR) attended the county board of supervisors in June 2011 to oppose the elimination of Prop 90. Several recounted personal experiences with seniors and disabled clients who benefited from the measure, and who otherwise would not have been able to move to the county had the proposition not been in place.

In the end, the Santa Clara County supervisors listened and decided to continue to opt in on Proposition 90. “There is value to it at the personal level. We supported it then, we should support it now,” they said. The supervisors also noted, “It doesn’t feel right to take this away from the people who could use it. In the big picture, it just doesn’t feel right.”

San Mateo County’s seniors and disabled residents will be facing this dilemma when the ordinance is considered at the board of supervisors meeting next week. A majority vote by the supervisors is needed to repeal the proposition.

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