Calif. Revenue and Taxation Code §§214, 214.17, 259.14
Amended and added by S.B. 996
Effective date: January 1, 2017

Under the existing “welfare exemption” law, a nonprofit corporation is exempt from up to $20,000 in annual property taxes, related penalties and interest on residential rental properties it owns for which 90%  or more of the tenants are low-income households paying rent under affordable rental housing programs.

Beginning January 1, 2017, the welfare exemption limit has been increased from a $20,000 annual property tax exemption to an annual exemption of property taxes due on up to $10,000,000 of qualifying residential rental property.

Additionally, escape assessments on qualifying residential rental property will not be levied if the total of the escape assessments, property taxes, penalties and interest due on all  qualifying residential rental properties for the year are less than or equal to $100,000.

Residential rental property which qualified for the old $20,000 welfare exemption between January 1, 2013 and December 31, 2016 will have annual property taxes, related penalties and interest up to $100,000 forgiven.

The claim for a welfare exemption is now to be accompanied by an affidavit which includes:

  • a list of units occupied by low-income tenants which qualify the property for the exemption;
  • the actual household income of each low-income tenant;
  • the maximum rents which may be charged to each low-income tenant; and
  • the actual rents charged to each low-income tenant.

The contents of the affidavit may not contain personally identifiable information, and will not be made public record.

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Editor’s note — This is another law which seeks to address the lack of housing units available for low- and moderate income California residents. For analysis of California’s low-income housing shortage, see:

California low- and moderate-income families forced out of the cities

California’s housing availability crisis stunts business growth