How 3 ballot measures in November could forever change California real estate

A split roll property tax, new rent control laws, and a measure designed to get homes to the market are on the ballot

Los Angeles /
Jul.July 02, 2020 12:00 PM
Michael Weinstein (Credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images)
Michael Weinstein (Credit: Charley Gallay/Getty Images)

California voters have the opportunity to drastically change the real estate landscape statewide this November.

Three of the 12 ballot measures set for November’s election are related to the industry, according to the Los Angeles Times. The issues may be familiar to those following debates about property taxes and rent control in the state.
Proposition 15 would revise property tax rules created by one of California’s most heavily debated ballot measures — 1978’s Proposition 13. Under Prop 13, property taxes were only updated in the case of a sale.

In other words, the tax bill for a home that was last sold in 1982 is still based on that year’s assessment, which deprives local governments of critical revenue.

Prop 15 would leave that rule in place for residential properties, but commercial property taxes would be based on market-rate value of a property. That money, estimated to be about $12.5 billion annually, would go to schools and local government services.

Proposition 19 would provide a tax break to California homebuyers over the age of 55. They would be able to buy a new home and keep their most recent tax bill.

Proponents say that the burden of a higher tax bill discourages older Californians from moving, which constricts supply and makes it harder for younger families to buy starter homes.

Proposition 21, meanwhile, is essentially a less drastic version of 2018’s rent control measure, Prop 10. If voters approve Prop 21, cities could cap rents hikes at five percent on housing that’s 15 years or older.

Last year’s Assembly Bill 1482 put a five percent cap on properties older than 15 years, but it expires in 10 years. Prop 21 would also allow governments to limit rent increases when a new renter moves in. [LAT]Dennis Lynch


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