How The Mills Act Can Save You Money On Your Historic Home

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Category: Community News
Published on Wednesday, 24 February 2016 17:18
Written by Ann Brooks
The Mills Act is a State of California tax reduction program for historic properties (single family residences, apartments, and commercial structures) that is administered by each participating municipality. The City of Los Angeles recently added multiple deadlines for the Mills Act application. The first application deadline is March 1st 2016, and if you submit your application on time, that deadline will be followed by two more deadlines.  There is one certainty.  If you miss any deadline or do not follow directions precisely you will be told to resubmit the application in 2017, or 2018, or … I think you get the idea!

What structures are eligible? Any structure that is a Contributor  -  considered a Historic-Cultural Monument, i.e. a City of Los Angeles recognized historic landmark; and areas of the Downtown and Hollywood historic districts that are so designated and  historic Multi-family and commercial structures are also included so if you have a friend who owns one of these structures, please pass this information on to them. 

Some hints: The structures which will receive the greatest benefits from the program are those purchased at the height of the market, and those still needing a great deal of preservation work. 

What are the benefits of Mills? Generally, you will receive a reduction of 35% - 60% off the base line [first and largest figure] of your current tax bill—some have received greater amounts. The Mills Act becomes a part of your deed and is filed with the County Assessor’s office. Once you are in the program, the Mills Act remains with the property, even if you sell the parcel and the savings will continue. It is a great sales incentive because the new owner will not see the customary tax increase for the ownership of a newly acquired parcel. And, it protects the property because the new owner can’t make drastic changes to any feature of the parcel—interior or exterior. This includes landscape, hardscape, pools and out buildings. 

Many people ignore the most obvious problems in their homes, those affecting the structure itself—known as the “bones”--while they decorate. The Mills Act will help you financially overcome this bias by requiring you to do all the necessary structural rehabilitation.

It is not too early to begin your 2016 Mills Act, as the first deadline is March 1st at 4 p.m. By that deadline you must submit to the City: 

- A full-front Black & White photograph of the building.

- The preliminary application.

- Three essays (perhaps more depending on the parcel submitted)

- An application check in the amount of $250.00.

To discover additional facts about the Mills Act, please see Part 1 of the 2016 Mills Act application which is available from the City at: http://preservation.lacity.org/incentives/mills-act-historical-property-contract-program

Ann may be contacted at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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