Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian Announces the Homeowner & Renters’ Assistance Program

(Sacramento, CA) Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian introduced AB 492, the Homeowner & Renters’ Assistance Program. AB 492 will provide a tax rebate to financially struggling renters and homeowners across California by reinstating and expanding the Homeowners and Renters Property Tax Assistance Program to include all Californian homeowners and renters who make under $30,000.

“We are facing a housing and homelessness crisis in California. The Homeowner & Renters’ Assistance Program will help families stay in their homes,” stated Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian.

For years the State of California has been facing a housing affordability crisis and it is driving more Californians into poverty and homelessness. According to the California Budget and Policy Center, more than half of renter households in our state pay more than 30% of their incomes toward housing, making them housing cost-burdened, and nearly a third are severely cost-burdened, paying more than 50% of their incomes toward housing.

Additionally, as median household rents increased by 13.2% from 2006 to 2016, median annual earnings for full time workers only grew 4.1% during the same period. When this program was operating, it provided much needed help to some of the most vulnerable populations in California. This was especially true for renters, who made up to 77% of claimants in 2006.

Using U.S. Census data, it is estimated that approximately 3.1 million households had total earnings at or below $30,000 in calendar year 2016 in California. By reinstating and expanding access to the Homeowner & Renters’ Property Tax Assistance Program, the State of California can take another critical step to further mitigate the current housing affordability crisis.

“Struggling homeowners and renters earning less than $30,000 are already making tough decisions on whether to pay rent or buy groceries,” stated Assemblymember Nazarian. “A rebate around $400 will help ease the financial burden of families trying to stay in their homes.”

Governor Schwarzenegger defunded the program in the 2008 budget with a line item veto. AB 492 will reinstate and expand the program to anyone making under $30,000, pay $50 or more rent per month or own and live in their own home.

Larry Gross, Executive Director of The Coalition for Economic Survival applauded Assemblymember Adrin Nazarian effort to take a step towards bringing some degree of tax equality to Californian renters.

Gross stated, “Hopefully this will be the first action towards leveling the playing field for renters and providing them with meaningful and greatly needed tax relief.”

Background on the Original Homeowner & Renters’ Assistance Program

The Homeowner & Renters’ Property Tax Assistance Program was initiated in 1968 to benefit senior homeowners by providing a partial reimbursement of property taxes paid for their principal residence in the prior year. The California Legislature later made periodic program changes that extended assistance to low-income homeowners and renters 62 years and older and disabled homeowners and renters, irrespective of age.

The program provided a once-a-year payment from the State of California based on income levels and property taxes paid by homeowners and indirectly paid by renters to qualified individuals who applied for the program.

Assistance amounts ranged from 4% to 96% of the maximum allowable reimbursement. For the 2006 tax year, approximately 580,000 assistance checks were processed for a total of $177 million, and the maximum payment for homeowners was $472.50 and was $347.50 for renters.