What is the Mills Act?

Under the authority of a State enabled program known as the Mills Act (California Government Code, Article 12, Sections 50280-50290). , local governments may enter into 10 year contracts with owners of qualifying privately owned historic properties who agree to rehabilitate, restore and/or maintain their property according to the Secretary of the Interior’s Standards (click here for details). The complete regulations are in the legal texts of the California Government Code (click here for details). The Mills Act allows private property owners with qualifying properties, which is defined as either listed in the National Register of Historic Places or located in a registered historic district, to enter into a 10 year contract with their local government to restore, rehabilitate and maintain their property in exchange for a reduction in property taxes. It is a financial incentive that encourages designation, rehabilitation and protection of historic buildings. The benefit to the owner may be a substantial reduction in property taxes, while the benefit to the relevant city is the preservation of a significant historic resource and investment in rehabilitation of housing.