We are committed to educating property owners and realtors about preservation. The following information is from the City of Santa Monica Planning and Community Development page.
To encourage historic preservation in Santa Monica, the City offers benefits to owners of designated Landmarks or Structures of Merit, and contributing structures in Historic Districts. These benefits include:
The Mills Act is a California State law that enables cities to enter into contracts with property owners of qualified historic structures. The owner of any building that is either a designated local landmark, structure of merit or a contributing building in a designated historic district may file a Mills Act Contract Application. Once approved, a Mills Act contract requires the County Tax Assessor’s office to determine the value of the historic property based upon its current income, rather than the Proposition 13 formula generally applied. In exchange for this reduction in property taxes, the contract requires the property owner to undertake specific restoration tasks, if necessary, and to properly maintain the historic structure.
Mills Act contracts can provide tax benefits for both owner-occupied and income producing properties. In the case of owner-occupied property, the income projection is based on comparable rents for similar property in the area or, if insufficient rental information is available, the income that it could reasonably be expected to produce. For income producing property, the income amount is based on rent actually received and on typical rents received for similar property in similar use. Mills Act contracts are for a ten-year term and are renewed automatically each year on the contract’s anniversary.
Applying for a Mills Act Contract with City of Santa Monica requires the submission of the following documents and materials to the Planning Department.
Please submit one (1) unbound, single-sided copy of each of the following items or one (1) digital copy of above listed items on a CD or USB flash drive at the Public Counter.
Mills Act Contract applications are reviewed by staff and then presented to the Landmarks Commission for review and recommendation to City Council. Once City Council approves the contract, notarized signatures of both the property owner and City officials are obtained, and the City submits the document to the Los Angeles County Recorder to be recorded. The City will then forward a confirmed copy of the document to the Los Angeles County Tax Assessor, who will recalculate the property owner’s tax payment.
Applications must be received by August 15th in order to be processed and recorded in a timely fashion. Tax assessments are not retroactively revised.
Legal descriptions of the program may be found in SMMC 9.56.270, California Government Code Sections 50280-50290, and California Revenue and Taxation Code Sections 439-439.4.