County of San Diego

ASSESSOR | RECORDER | COUNTY CLERK

Ernest J. Dronenburg, Jr.

Real Estate and Manufactured Homes Assessments

Newly purchased manufactured homes, and those on permanent foundations, are subject to property taxes. As with real property, the assessed value of manufactured homes cannot be increased by more than 2% annually unless there is a change in ownership or new construction. Older manufactured homes bought before June 30, 1980, are generally not subject to property taxes. They are licensed under the jurisdiction of the State Department of Housing and Community Development.

For additional information please call (619) 531-5478.

No. State law requires only those mobile homes purchased new since July 1, 1980 to be assessed for property taxes. Mobile homes purchased prior to July 1, l980, however, are not subject to property taxes, but rather are on license fees under the jurisdiction of the state Department of Housing and Community Development unless that mobile home has been voluntarily converted to property taxes or placed on a permanent foundation.​

Since 1983, mobile homes on license fees can be voluntarily transferred to property taxes. The main benefit of this transfer to property taxes is that the buyer of the mobile home will not have to pay state sales tax. ​

No. Once a mobile home has voluntarily converted to the tax roll it cannot be converted back to a fee status.​

Mobile homes are assessed for property taxes by using recognized value guides such as the Kelley Blue Book, the NADA, or factors provided by the State Board of Equalization, as well as the sales price.​

Yes. Any mobile home placed on a permanent foundation must be assessed for property taxes.​

Yes. Currently there are 46 mobile-home parks that have been purchased by the residents. There are additional mobile-home parks in the process of being conveyed or are considering conversion to individual ownership.​

No. The purchase of a mobile-home park by the current residents will not cause a reassessment as long as certain conditions are met.

Yes. Your space will be on property taxes, but you may continue to have your coach on license fees unless you wish to voluntarily convert to property taxes or the home is placed on a permanent foundation.​

If you are on license fees, you should contact the state Department of Housing and Community Development at (619) 441-2326. If you are on property taxes, please contact the Assessor’s Office at (619) 531-5478.​

The Assessor’s Office is required to reassess property upon a change in ownership or new construction. New Construction is typically reassessed upon completion, but it can also be reassessed if the construction is in progress (unfinished) on the annual property tax lien date, January 1st. The term “new construction” includes not only structures that are new but can also include remodeling of existing structures. For additional information, please call (858) 505-6262.   

NEW CONSTRUCTION

Concerning new construction, the Assessor’s Office receives copies of all building permits issued by the cities as well as the County. We then divide these permits into two categories: (1) permits for repair, replacement and maintenance, and (2) permits for actual new construction.

Normally, permits for repair, replacement and maintenance do not cause a reassessment for property tax purposes. Examples of these include a new roof, replumbing, rewiring, replacing an old fence or decking, etc. On the other hand, if a homeowner takes out a building permit to do an addition to his or her home, this will cause a reassessment for the new square footage added.

In appraising new construction, the market value of the addition is determined and added to the value of the existing property. The value of the existing property does not change. For example, a homeowner currently has a 2,000 square foot home and builds a new 500 square foot family room. Under Proposition 13, we can only reassess the new family room, and not the existing 2,000 square foot home. The family room will be reassessed based on the "value added" which is usually the full construction cost.

There are two times, however, when the "value added" may be different from the construction costs. The first is when there is an "over improvement for the area" in which the cost of construction exceeds the market value added. The other is when an owner has built the improvement himself for substantially less cost than the resulting increase in value.

Copies of all building permits are sent to the Assessor's Office by the cities and County.  If the constructions is new (such as a room addition), a reappraisal is required.  If the construction is for replacement, repair, or maintenance, a reappraisal is not required.  In appraising new construction, the market value of the addition is determined and added to the value of the existing property.  The existing property, however, is not reappraised.  As with a change-in-ownership, the owner is notified of the new assessment and can appeal the value.  

All the cities and the County must notify the Assessor's Office when ever building permits are issued.  The Assessor's Office also receives information about new constructions from other sources.  

No.  If the building permits is for repair, replacement or maintenance, the value of the property will not be increased for tax purposes.  However, if a bath, kitchen, or entire house is completely remodeled, the value will be added to the current assessment. 

No.  Only the value added of the new construction will increase the current assessment.  For example, if you build a family room, only the value added of the new constructions will be added to your current assessment.  The existing home will not be reassessed for tax purposes. 

ASSESSMENT OF UNFINISHED CONSTRUCTION

Unfinished new construction is appraised by the assessor’s office each year on the first day of January for property tax purposes. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions concerning the appraisal of partially completed construction. ​

 State law requires the assessor’s office to appraise all new construction on January 1st to determine its value for property tax purposes. This taxable value is then reflected on the next regular property tax bill. ​

No. Only the value of the new, unfinished construction will be appraised. The land and the existing structure will not be reappraised for property tax purposes. ​

The value of unfinished construction is determined primarily by using construction costs. These costs are usually obtained from the builder, and include full construction costs, architectural expenses, financing, building permits and any other related costs. ​

No. A supplemental assessment and tax bill will not be generated until the new construction is completed. ​

Yes. The assessor’s office will mail a Notification of Value letter to the property owner showing the new assessed value of the property, including the unfinished construction. ​

If you disagree with the value of your unfinished construction, you should first call the assessor’s branch office nearest you and discuss it with an appraiser. If you still disagree with the value, you may file an appeal between July 2 and November 30 with the Assessment Appeals Board at (619) 531-5777. ​

MAJOR REMODEL 

Many homeowners are taking advantage of the lower interest rates to refinance their homes for remodeling. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions of how a remodel affects your property taxes. ​

The Assessor’s Office receives copies of all building permits issued by the cities and the county. ​

In addition to obtaining the building permit information, the Assessor’s Office mails out a questionnaire to the property owner seeking information on the specific cost of construction and the actual size of the addition.

Generally speaking, a remodel will cause a property tax increase when actual new square footage is added, or new improvements are built ( i.e., spa, swimming pool). The complete remodel of a kitchen or bath with new, upgraded fixtures and appliances will also cause an increase in the assessed value. ​

No. Permits for normal repair, replacement and routine maintenance do not cause a reassessment for property tax purposes. Examples of these include a new roof, replumbing, rewiring or replacing a deck, etc. ​

Yes. A remodel for the purposes of earthquake safety, fire protection and soundproofing will not cause an increase in property taxes. Also: a remodel for the purposes of accommodating an owner, who is permanently disabled will not cause a property tax increase. ​

The Assessor’s Office determines the increase in value by considering the total construction cost and by reviewing recent sales of similar remodeled properties in the same area. ​

If you disagree with the value, you should immediately contact the Assessor’s Office and discuss it with an appraiser. If you still disagree, you can file an appeal with the Assessment Appeals Board within 60 days from the date on the supplemental tax bill.  Visit the Assessment Appeals page for more information.

State law requires the Assessor to reassess property upon a change in ownership or completion of new construction. The Assessor’s Office must issue a supplemental assessment which reflects the difference between the prior assessed value and the new assessment. This value is then prorated based on the number of months remaining in the fiscal year ending June 30. This supplemental assessment is in addition to the regular annual tax bill.  

The Assessor’s office has a supplemental tax calculator available for your convenience. For additional information, please call (858) 505-6262.

If you disagree with the new value on your supplemental assessment and have evidence to support a lower value, an assessment appeal application must be filed with the Clerk of the Board within 60 days from the mailing of the supplemental tax bill.  


A taxable possessory interest (PI) is created when a private party is granted the exclusive use of real property owned by a non‑taxable government entity. Under State law, possessory interests must be assessed for property tax purposes.

The PI may be conveyed by a lease, permit, contract, or only a verbal agreement. Essentially, the possession or right to possession of the real property creates a possessory interest; not the type of document used to convey that right. The possession must be independent, durable, and exclusive of the rights held by others. It must also provide a private benefit to the possessor above that which is granted to the general public. 

For additional information, please call (858) 505-6088 or email us at arccpi.fgg@sdcounty.ca.gov

  • Boat slips on public lakes, ocean marinas, or rivers.
  • A mini-storage facility built under a freeway.
  • Fast-food facilities on military installations.
  • Cattle grazing rights on federal or state land.
  • Concessionaires and exhibitors at convention centers and fairgrounds.
  • Cabins on U.S. Forest owned land.
  • Public golf courses leased to private operators.
  • Airline terminal and cargo space at large metropolitan airports.
  • Container operators at major harbors.
  • Cable television right-of-way easements.
  • Governmental supplied employee housing.

Annually, the Assessor’s staff requests every governmental agency in the county to provide information such as leases and other agreements that are related to the real property they own. It is important that the lessees keep this information current with their government landlords, and that the agencies cooperate fully with the Assessor so that accurate assessments can be made by the county.

The valuation of PI’s differs significantly from other forms of property tax appraisal. The three basic approaches to value, cost, income, and comparative sales, are used but modified to specifically allow for distinction between the taxable and non-taxable elements of the property. Because of these differences, the taxable PI values differ from unencumbered fee simple values in two ways:

  1.  The Assessor must value only the legally permitted possessory interest use under the agreement, which may not be the highest and best use of the property.
  2.  The Assessor must not include the value of the lessor’s retained rights in the property; the government’s interest is exempt.

Base year values are established for taxable possessory interests upon change in ownership or completion of new construction under the guidelines of Proposition 13. A change in ownership occurs when a possessory interest is created, amended, assigned, or upon expiration of the reasonably anticipated term of possession.

The lessee who acquires the possessory interest must pay the property taxes. The private possessor receives the services and benefits (fire and police protection, schools, and local government) that other similar taxable properties enjoy. The PI tax helps to pay the holder’s fair share of those costs.  The lien date for real property tax is January 1 each year. The person in possession of the property on the lien date is liable for the entire subsequent fiscal year’s taxes. Unfortunately, no provision is made for the Assessor to prorate the taxes if the possessory interest is terminated after the lien date. 

Agricultural Preserve Contracts 

State law allows owners of agricultural land to reduce their property taxes by placing their property into agricultural preserve contracts. Below are some of the most frequently asked questions concerning the Agricultural Preserve Contracts.

Agricultural preserves are areas designated by the county or certain cities that are used for farming, grazing or orchards, and where the preservation of open space and agricultural use is in the public’s interest. Property owners in those areas can enter into contracts with the jurisdictions to limit the use of their land for a minimum of 10 years in exchange for reduced taxes. ​

The property will be assessed only on the basis of the income produced from the land. This generally creates a smaller assessment than if the land were not under contract.​

A minimum of 10 acres in groves or crops, 80 acres in grazing or 40 acres in mixed use.

Yes. All of the property remains under contract, and there will be no reappraisal for property tax purposes except for the dwelling unit and the accompanying lot.

Only the dwelling unit and the accompanying lot will be reappraised. The land used for agriculture will not be reappraised.​

The Zoning Section of the County Department of Planning and Land Use is responsible for administering the agricultural preserve program in San Diego County. Call them at (858) 565- 5981.

The cities of Oceanside at (760) 966-4770, Carlsbad at (760) 438-1161 and Escondido at (760) 741-4671 also participate in this program.

Historical Properties

Historical buildings might qualify for a property tax reduction. State law provides for an alternative method of calculating property taxes for qualified historical buildings whose owners have entered into an agreement with their city or the County for unincorporated areas.

If your questions are about the valuation of these historic properties, call the Assessor’s Office at (619) 531-5002.

Below are some of the most frequently asked questions concerning Historical Properties. If your questions are about applying and qualifying for these historic landmark preservation agreements, contact your local jurisdiction. ​ 

Historical properties are usually examples of recognized architecture or skilled craftsmanship that have been designated by local, state or Federal governments to be of historic importance. ​

The property owner must enter into a binding 10 year agreement with the city or the County to restore, maintain and preserve the historic landmark property in its historic form. ​

Upon notice from the city or County, the Assessor’s Office will revalue the historic property beginning the next full tax year, taking into consideration the restriction in the historic landmark agreement. ​

This program may provide property tax reductions to owners of properties designated as historical landmarks, who have entered into historical landmark property preservation agreements.​

This historic landmark preservation program provides a way to save buildings that are historically significant. ​

No. Recent state law does not require public access: however, the individual contract will specify the property owners’ requirements. ​

When a sale or transfer of ownership occurs, the Assessor’s Office receives a copy of the deed and determines if a reassessment is required under State law. If it is required, an appraisal is made to determine the new market value of the property. The owner is then notified of the new assessment. 

For additional information, please call (858) 505-6262.

Some ownership changes do not require a reassessment. For example, the transfer of property between husband and wife does not require a reassessment for property tax purposes. This includes transfers resulting from divorce or death. In addition, refinancing or creation of a living trust will not cause a reappraisal. There are other exclusions for senior and disabled individuals, and for intergenerational transfers (Parent-Child/Grandparent-Grandchild).  

A change in ownership occurs whenever any interest in real property is sold or transferred.  The County Recorder then reports these sales and transfer to the Assessor's Office.

Yes.  The only exceptions are transfers between husband and wife, and transfers between a parent and child.  All other transfers, even among family members such a siblings, are reassessed.

No. Refinancing or the creation of a trust deed will not cause a reappraisal as long as there has been no change of title.

No.  In this method of holding title, there is only a reassessment if there has been a change of beneficial interest or control.  Revocable trusts such as living trusts are not reassessed

Yes.  Under this method of ownership, a reassessment occurs when there is a change in the controlling interest of a corporation.  A controlling interest is defined as an interest greater than 50%.

Prop 13 was passed by California voters in June 1978. It is a contract between taxpayers and the government. It provides a budgetable revenue source for taxing jurisdictions and is affordable and predictable for property owners. Property is reassessed to market value upon a change in ownership or new construction. Otherwise, assessments are subject to an annual inflation adjustment, not to exceed 2% per year.

The property tax rate is 1%, plus any bonds, fees or special charges. For additional information, please contact the Assessor’s Office at (858) 505-6262.

Prior to the passage of Proposition 13, real property was appraised annually at its current market value, and there was no limitation on the tax rate that counties could apply.

All the cities and the County must notify the Assessor’s Office when ever building permits are issued. The Assessor’s Office also receives information about new construction from other sources. Click on the New Construction Reassessment tab for more information.

No. If the building permit is for repair, replacement or maintenance, the value of the property will not be increased for tax purposes. However, if a bath, kitchen, or entire house is completely remodeled, the value will be added to the current assessment. ​

No. Only the value added of the new construction will increase the current assessment. For example, if you build a family room, only the value added of the new construction will be added to your current assessment. The existing home will not be reassessed for tax purposes. ​​

A change in ownership occurs whenever any interest in real property is sold or transferred. The County Recorder then reports these sales and transfers to the Assessor’s Office. For more information click on the Change of Ownership Reassessments tab.

Yes. The only exceptions are transfers between husband and wife, and transfers between a parent and child. All other transfers, even among family members such as siblings, are reassessed. ​

No. Refinancing or the creation of a trust deed will not cause a reappraisal as long as there has been no change of title. ​

No. In this method of holding title, there is only a reassessment if there has been a change of beneficial interest or control. Revocable trusts such as living trusts are not reassessed. ​

Yes. Under this method of ownership, a reassessment occurs when there is a change in the controlling interest of a corporation. A controlling interest is defined as an interest greater than 50%.

 Yes. The assessed value of property can be decreased when ever damage occurs such as fire, or when structures are removed. State law (Proposition 8, Temporary Reduction of Assessed Value For Property Tax Purposes, passed in 1979) also allows property values to be reduced if there is a decline in market values below the current assessed value. You can find the appropiate form in the Forms tab of this page.

Proposition 8 was passed by California Voters in November 1978. It provides for a temporary reduction in assessed value if the market value falls below the assessed value on Lien Date (January 1st). Once reduced, the assessed value will be reviewed annually and adjusted upward or downward, dependent on the market values. The property will still be protected by Proposition 13. The assessment can never go higher than the original base assessment plus 2% per year. 

You can apply for this reduction yourself, for free, directly with the Assessor’s Office. Numerous private businesses and individuals mail solicitations to property owners offering their assistance in this process for a fee. While property owners are certainly at liberty to use these private companies, they can apply for this reduction themselves at absolutely no cost.

The Proposition 8 application is available from December 1st through April 30th on the our website and in all the Assessor’s branch offices.  Applications can be submitted to the our office from December 1st through April 30th

For additional information, please call (858) 505-6262.     

The assessed values for all real estate parcels will be posted to the Assessor’s website on June 30th. 

You may also call the Assessor’s office at (619) 236-3771 for assessed value information. 

If you disagree with your assessed value and have evidence to support a lower value, a formal assessment appeal process is available. This application must be filed with the Clerk of the Assessment Appeals Board between July 2nd and November 30th.