Change in Ownership

What constitutes a change in ownership? Are there any exclusions from the reassessment?

If a transfer of real property results in the transfer of the present interest and beneficial use of the property, the value of which is substantially equal to the value of the fee interest, then such a transfer would constitute a change in ownership unless a statutory exclusion applies. While a transfer of real property may constitute a change in ownership, the legislature has created a number of exclusions so that some types of transfers are excluded, by law, from the definition of change in ownership. Thus, for these types of transfers, the real property will not be reappraised.

An exclusion occurs when the assessor does not reassess a property because the property or portions of the property are automatically excluded from reassessment or is eligible to be excluded if the owner properly files a claim. The following list covers most changes in ownership that are excluded from reassessment, either automatically or by claim; however, there may be other excludable qualifying transactions not listed here. Thus, you should contact your local assessor or an attorney if you have a specific transaction that you would like to discuss.

Please be advised that on November 3, 2020, voters approved Proposition 19 (Home Protection for Seniors, Severely Disabled, Families and Victims of Wildfire or Natural Disasters Act), which makes sweeping changes to a property owner’s ability to transfer their Proposition 13 Assessed Value. It also may change the process for claiming exclusions. Parts of the new law become effective on February 16, 2021, and parts effective on April 1, 2021. The most current information about the implementation of Proposition 19 is available at Proposition 19

Changes in ownership that require a claim to be filed to avoid reassessment include the following:

Transfers of the principal place of residence between parents and their children (Parent to/from Child--Prop 19). Transfer of homeowner’s Assessed Value to a new home. Eligible homeowners (defined as over 55, severely disabled, or whose homes were destroyed by wildfire or disaster) can transfer their primary residence’s property tax base value to a newly purchased or constructed replacement residence of any value, anywhere in the state. The base year value may be transferred to a home of equal or lesser value. However, if the value of the replacement home is greater than the value of the original property, the difference in market values is to be added to the transferred base year value (Age 55+ Base Year Transfer--Prop 19). The purchase of a replacement property if the original property was taken by governmental action, such as eminent domain or inverse condemnation (Proposition 3). The purchase of a new principal residence by a person who is severely disabled(Proposition 110). Transfers of real property between registered domestic partners that occurred between January 1, 2000, and January 1, 2006(section 62(p) of the Revenue and Taxation Code). County assessors are required to reverse any reassessments that resulted from any transfers of real property between registered domestic partners that occurred during this time period if the taxpayer files a timely claim. However, relief for such a reversal is applied only on a prospective basis. The registered domestic partners will not receive any refunds.

Changes in ownership that are possibly excluded from reassessment and do not require a claim form include the following (additional information may be requested):

  • Transfers of real property between spouses, which include transfers in and out of a trust for the benefit of a spouse, the addition of a spouse on a deed, transfers upon the death of a spouse, and transfers pursuant to a divorce settlement or court order (section 63 of the Revenue and Taxation Code; Rule 462.220).
  • Transfers of real property between registered domestic partners that occur on or after January 1, 2006, which include transfers in and out of a trust for the benefit of a partner, the addition of a partner on a deed, transfers upon the death of a partner, and transfers pursuant to a settlement agreement or court order upon the termination of the domestic partnership (section 62(p) of the Revenue and Taxation Code).
  • Transactions only to correct the name(s) of the person(s) holding title to real property or transfers of real property for the purpose of perfecting title to the property (for example, a name change upon marriage).
  • Transfers of real property between co-owners that result in a change in the method of holding title to the property without changing the proportional interests of the co-owners, such as a partition of a tenancy in common.
  • Transfers between an individual or individuals and a legal entity or between legal entities, such as a co-tenancy to a partnership, or a partnership to a corporation, that results solely in a change in the method of holding title to the real property and in which proportional ownership interests of the transferors and the transferees, whether represented by stock, partnership interest or otherwise, in each and every piece of real property transferred, remains the same after the transfer.
  • The creation, assignment, termination, or reconveyance of a lender's security interest in real property or any transfer required for financing purposes only (for example, co-signor).
  • The substitution of a trustee of a trust or mortgage.
  • Transfers that result in the creation of a joint tenancy in which the transferor remains as one of the joint tenants.
  • Transfers of joint tenancy property to return the property to the person who created a joint tenancy (i.e., the original transferor).
  • Transfers of real property to a revocable trust, where the transferor retains the power to revoke the trust or where the trust is created for the benefit of the transferor or the transferor's spouse.
  • Transfers of real property into a trust that may be revoked by the creator/grantor who is also a joint tenant, and which names the other joint tenant(s) as beneficiaries when the creator/grantor dies.
  • Transfers of real property to an irrevocable trust for the benefit of the creator/grantor or the creator/grantor's spouse.
  • Transfers of real property into a trust that may be revoked by the creator/grantor who is also a joint tenant, and which names the other joint tenant(s) as beneficiaries when the creator/grantor dies.