Ralph A. Vaughn

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The Mills Act Provides Economic Incentives for Preservation

Preservation of California's historic properties received a boost in 1976 when the Historic Property Contracts, more commonly known as The Mills Act, was enacted by the State of California.

The legislation recognizes that sometimes there has to be an economic incentive to preserve historic properties which either by their condition or location might discourage owners from assuming the responsibility themselves.

The benefit to the property owner is the possible reduction of property taxes. In return the property owner agrees "to maintain and preserve the property in accordance with standards established by the U.S. Secretary of the Interior."

The legislation operates through local governments. Los Angeles became a participant in 1996 by enacting the Historic Property Contracts Program by Ordinance 171,413. It is administered by the Cultural Affairs Department with the cooperation of the County Assessor and the State Office of Historic Preservation.

"Eligibility is limited to single-family homes with a current property tax assessment of $500,000 or less, and commercial/industrial/multi-family properties with a current property tax assessment of $1.5 million or less."

Some areas are exempt from these current assessment limit.

Information is provided as a convenience but not guaranteed.  Buyers must verify.

Go to http://www.laconservancy.org/index.php4 for more information on benefits of owning properties which may be cultural monuments or considered contributing to an historic preservation overlay zone.

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