Oceanside landlord says property taxes rose 600% after parents' deaths due to Prop 19

The sky-high property tax bill could force him to raise rent on his low-income tenants

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Dan Restifo says he is the owner of multiple housing units in Oceanside and the property tax bill for his units is skyrocketing.

“Before the taxes were $3,900 per year and now it’s $25,000 per year,” Restifo said.

The units were previously owned by Restifo’s parents but passed onto him when they passed away.

Proposition 19 is a constitutional amendment passed by California voters in 2020.

It often gives property tax relief to people older than 55-years-old, severely disabled or those impacted by a wildfire. Property taxes often increase to current market value when a property is transferred from one owner to another that doesn't fall into one of those categories, according to legal experts.

“As an heir to his parents’ property he doesn’t get the benefit of the lower-mandated tax rate. There are certain exceptions, but they don’t apply,” Attorney Dan Eaton said.

He will either have to sell his properties or begin charging a higher price for his rental units, according to Restifo.

This will impact the low-income residents at his rental units who Restifo says can’t afford market-rate apartments.

“One of my tenants is an essential worker who works at Ralph’s and she is in her 60s and has been working the same job for approximately 15 to 20 years and it’s hard for her to find affordable housing. Her rent is very low like $1,400 per month whereas the rent in that area is $2,400 per month and I’ve been trying to keep it low because she barely makes it now,” Restifo said.

The ballot proposition was intended to give some, often older, disabled or wildfire-impacted homeowners property tax relief, and to prevent heirs of properties from inheriting an elders' home without forcing a tax reassessment.

“The idea behind Prop 19 was to prevent people who were inheriting very valuable California real estate from taking advantage of the inherited low tax rate,” Eaton said.

Some people, including Restifo, believes there should be a carve-out for people who don’t want to use the inherited home as a primary residence but commit to designating a certain amount to low income renters.

While the situation plays out, there may be some tough conversations, according to Restifo.

“I haven’t notified them yet because I am very concerned about their reaction but it's something that has to happen,” Restifo said.

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