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New Ballot Initiative Would Give Seniors More 'Portability'

February 2, 2018 | By Bradley Real Estate

We wanted to alert you to a new initiative that the California Association of Realtors is hoping to get on the General Election ballot in November of this year. It’s called the Property Tax Fairness Initiative for Portability.  


What’s It About?

This is important because those who are over 55, who are often on a fixed income, fear they will not be able to afford a big property tax increase if they sell their existing home and buy another one, discouraging them from ever moving.  As a result of this “moving penalty,” almost three-quarters of homeowners 55 and older haven’t moved since 2000. C.A.R.’s portability initiative would allow senior homeowners to transfer their property tax base from their current residence to a replacement residence located anywhere in California.


If approved by voters, this measure will let thousands of seniors, currently “locked into” their homes by low property tax rates, purchase a home that will better suit their needs while expanding the housing inventory for families seeking to buy a home.  According to the California Legislative Analyst's Office, tens of thousands of additional homeownership opportunities will occur annually as a result, loosening up the supply of housing in our area.


How Portability Affects Current Law

Although Proposition 13 protects homeowners from rapidly increasing property taxes, they lose their Proposition 13 property tax savings when they move to another home. Although under another law, Proposition 60, senior homeowners are allowed to transfer their property tax base to another home in the same county so long as the purchase price of the replacement home is equal to, or less than, the sale price of the original residence, they are limited to making only one such transfer over the course of their lifetimes. And, if the spouse of a senior homeowner has already transferred a property tax base, that senior homeowner is disqualified from making another transfer of the tax base.

There is another proposition under current law, Proposition 90. It’s an extension of the original Proposition 60 program and allows senior homeowners to transfer their property tax base to a home in a different county so long as that county accepts such transfers. At last count, however, only 11 counties of California’s 58 are accepting transfers from other counties in the state.

C.A.R.’s Property Tax Fairness Initiative eliminates the geographic restrictions and single-use provision to allow seniors, the disabled, and victims of natural disasters to keep their property- tax protections.

Please be aware of this initiative and contact your Bradley agent to sign the necessary petition form. It can hold up to five signatures (and local addresses) from the same county and must be signed in person before it is sent back to C.A.R by mail. Your signature is not an endorsement of the measure; it only allows the initiative to be placed on the November ballot if a million signatures are received before the deadline.