ICLT says without SB 1056, affordable-housing projects in Irvine, California, are threatened by further delay.

Irvine Community Land in Favor of New Land-Trust Bill

Carrie Rossenfeld Government & Public Policy

Senate Bill 1056 extends nonprofit tax exemptions to community land trusts in California to make home prices for low and moderate-income households more affordable. Irvine Community Land Trust (ICLT) has given its support to the California Community Land Trust Network and California State Senator Jim Beall on the introduction of SB 1056, a measure aimed to provide the state’s community land trusts with the tools needed to prove more affordable-housing and homeownership opportunities to low- and moderate-income households.

If passed, the legislation would bolster affordable housing opportunities by providing community land trusts across the state with a property-tax exemption from the point of acquisition of land to the point of sale of affordable homes.

Mark Asturias, executive director for ICLT, says, “Orange County is one of the most expensive places to live in the nation, in large part due to exorbitant housing costs. SB 1056 will go a long way to help ease the costs of affordable housing for both community land trusts and the homebuyers. We look forward to working with the California Community Land Trust Network and Senator Beall to pass this common-sense legislation and help the many families that would like to continue to call Orange County home.”

In a county where only 21 percent of residents can afford a median-priced home, the ICLT is an independent nonprofit organization that provides the city of Irvine with permanent affordable housing and homeownership solutions to low and moderate-income households. By acquiring and maintaining ownership of land with the purpose of building and providing affordable housing, the land trust can maintain affordability of homes on a permanent basis, ICLT reasons.

However, without this property tax exemption, currently afforded to similar nonprofit housing providers such as Habitat for Humanity, the ICLT faces huge financial burdens in land acquisition and homebuilding. Homeowners are responsible for property taxes upon sale, so these burdens are often passed off to the low-and moderate-income homeowners who already struggle to afford the county’s high housing costs.

Additionally, without this tax exemption, affordable housing projects in the city are threatened by further delay as the ICLT and partners find ways to cover the cost of property taxes during construction so that the full cost is not passed to homebuyers, according to ICLT.