SACRAMENTO –A bill protecting victims of natural disasters from an unexpected property tax increase was signed into law by Governor Gavin Newsom this week.
Assembly Bill (AB) 2013, authored by Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin (D – Thousand Oaks), provides much needed tax relief to property owners who have lost their home or business in a Governor-declared natural disaster and wish to rebuild on the same plot of land.
“AB 2013 will help home and small business owners rebuild their communities suffering from devastating fires, earthquakes, and mudslides,” said Assemblymember Irwin. “By creating conformity with other areas of property tax law, AB 2013 will help support those who may have lost everything and are struggling to rebuild their lives in the community they call home. I want to thank the Governor for signing this important piece of legislation.”
By creating a safe harbor to avoid triggering reassessment, this change in law allows disaster victims to invest in ignition-resistant materials and make other necessary upgrades to structures on their property. The legislation is retroactive to 2017, ensuring that those impacted by the devastating Camp, Thomas, and Woolsey fires are eligible to receive the same protections.
“County Assessors throughout California offer their thanks to Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin for her sponsorship and stewardship of AB 2013, and to Governor Gavin Newsom for signing this important bill into law,” said Don Gaekle, President of the California Assessors’ Association and Stanislaus County Assessor. “Assemblymember Irwin’s unwavering support for victims of natural disasters, as shown through this legislation, now provides much needed relief and equity under the law. Property owners who choose to rebuild after severe damage or destruction during a disaster will now receive the same benefits as those choosing to relocate.”
The bill, sponsored by the California Assessors’ Association, enjoyed unanimous, bipartisan support as it moved through the legislative process and is supported by the California Chamber of Commerce, the California Apartment Association, and the Howard Jarvis Taxpayer’s Association.
“For disaster victims whose property is destroyed and choose to rebuild on site, California’s property tax laws work against them,” stated Ventura County Assessor Dan Goodwin in an op-ed for the Ventura County Star regarding a similar measure that was vetoed last year. “Without the change proposed by the California Assessors’ Association, disaster victims who choose to rebuild on the original site are limited to 100 percent of the size and value of the destroyed home. Not only does this create a hardship on top of disaster, but it is unfair treatment of the taxpayer.”
Assemblymember Jacqui Irwin represents California’s 44th Assembly District, which includes the communities of Camarillo, Moorpark, Oak Park, Oxnard, Port Hueneme, Thousand Oaks, and Westlake Village.