What is the Mills Act?
• It’s a completely voluntary program 

• It’s an economic incentive to encourage preservation of historic properties by reducing property taxes 

• It can be used by owner-occupied or non-owner occupied historic properties 

• Includes a commitment to preserve and maintain the property for a minimum period of 10 years 

• It’s a contract between the city and the owner of a designated and qualified historic property.

Benefits
• Reduction in property tax (up to 70 percent)

• Increases likelihood of preservation

• Assures mechanism to avoid deterioration

• Provides incentive for preservation

• Can encourage home buyers to purchase designated historic structures

• Meets the goals of the historic preservation element of the 1983 general plan

• Has resulted in, and will continue to improve, our historic “jewel of the city.”

Save BIG when you buy an historic home in Old Towne Orange

Highlights
• Contract term is a renewable 10-year commitment

• Provides for the preservation of a qualified historic property, and, when necessary, restoration and rehabilitation

• Periodic inspection of the subject historic property

• Transfers the low property taxes to subsequent buyers

• Requires property owner to pay an application fee of $1,000 and $35 per year to the City of Orange.

Adopted by the California Legislature in 1976, the Mills Act gives local governments the authority to grant property tax relief to owners of qualified historic properties, including those that are owner-occupied and those producing income. In exchange for this relief, the property owners must agree, by contract, to maintain the properties in accordance with specific historic preservation standards and conditions. The overall intent of the legislation is to provide an incentive for owners to preserve and maintain a community’s historic resources.

March 2018