CAA-sponsored COVID-19 bill seeks lower property taxes for landlords

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CAA has sponsored legislation designed to lower the property taxes of landlords who’ve suffered financial damages due to COVID-19.

SB 1431 by Sen. Steve Glazer, D-Orinda, would clear the way for landlords to request property tax reassessments based on financial losses attributable to the virus. Specifically, these damages would need to come from rent freezes, eviction moratoria, and other tenant protections imposed by governments in response to the outbreak.

Sen. Steven Glazer

SB 1431 is one of two CAA-sponsored bills that went into print in recent days to provide landlords with relief during the pandemic. The other bill, SB 1410 by Sen. Lena Gonzalez, D-Long Beach, would create the COVID-19 Emergency Rental Assistance Program.

In response to the pandemic and “shelter in place orders,” more than 100 local governments in California have instituted COVID-19 “anti-eviction” or “rent freeze” orders protecting tenants from evictions for not paying rent. Many other local governments have added additional restrictions. 

While the local orders seek financial relief for tenants, they also exert financial pressure on rental property owners when rent is not paid. Owners then struggle to pay their own bills, including taxes, mortgages and any payroll.

Glazer said his bill recognizes the importance of COVID-19 tenant protections while attempting to give a boost to property owners feeling the negative financial effects of those measures.

“California renters and landlords need this relief. Renters tend to be residents with the lowest incomes and the least secure employment. They need and deserve our assistance,” Glazer said. “The landlords who invested in rental housing and who will in many cases go months without rent being paid also need help to stay afloat. Many are couples and families who own and manage a few units as their main source of income.”

Glazer’s tax reassessment bill would apply retroactively to April 5 and allow landlords to apply for an expedited COVID-19-related reassessment. 

Gonzalez’s rental-assistance bill, meanwhile, would help reduce the financial damages suffered by both landlords and tenants.

Sen. Lena Gonzalez

Under SB 1410, the state of California would make direct rental payments to help tenants who cannot afford to pay their rent. SB 1410 would cover at least 80% of unpaid rent attributable to the pandemic. Landlords who volunteer to participate in the program would need to accept certain conditions, such as not raising the rent for a specified period.

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